HR Q1 2024 Market Update

General Observations

There was a sluggish start to 2024 in the HR world. Budget approvals and a certain level of apprehensiveness have led to roles being slower to come to market. The return to the office full time, or with set days in the office is being met with some resistance as it doesn’t allow the flexibility some employees are used to over the last 4 years.

Candidates are doing thorough research on organisations – their cultures, values and structures which is something that we are pleased to see. The levels of commitment are usually quite solid if values, structures and the role aligns.

There has been a steady flow of Fixed Term contract roles in the market in Q1, mainly Maternity Leave contracts and not necessarily reflective of confidence levels in the economy. Contract roles have come to market at a variety of levels – HR Administrator through to HR Business Partner.

We have successfully executed several briefs in Q1 across food manufacturing, transport, insurance and Medtech. The roles ranged from HR Manager, HR Generalist and TA Specialist.

Overall, a tight market with little availability at certain levels.

Skills in demand

Every report, we reference employment relations as a key skill set. Q1 was no different as every Generalist brief sought candidates with exposure to the employment relations process. Operational HR experience has also shone through as a skillset in demand this quarter. Due to the nature of certain sectors, roles can be quite HR Ops heavy and thus need employees happy to be involved in the day-to-day.

Advice to jobseekers

Partner with a HR expert recruiter. They know the market and should know their clients. This will enable you to ascertain deeper knowledge on the structure, culture, and progression opportunities with the prospective employer. If you are partnering with a recruiter, be transparent. We prefer to know if you have other processes, etc. ongoing so we can manage the relationship with our client.

From a role perspective, if wanting to develop a career in “core HR” rather than a specific discipline, we encourage to get exposure to ER as early as possible in your career. Some organisations may be light on ER issues, but it is a fantastic skillset to bring to a role.

Do your preparation for interviews. If you are applying for a role directly, ask in advance the structure of the interview. Then prepare specific examples, collated to the job description to give you the optimum opportunity for success.

Advice to employers

Speed has never been so important. Good transformational, relationship-based Recruiters have access to great candidates. Companies waiting to see if any additional applications come through or sitting on a process are losing out as candidates lose interest.

Be open minded and have conversations with your Recruitment partner. Given the lack of availability of certain skillsets, explore if it’s an option to hire a level above or below. Ascertain what this potential hire can bring to your organisation and if you can train them on certain elements of the role.


We specialise in recruiting across General HR, Talent Acquisition, Employment Relations, HRIS and Compensation & Benefits from entry to senior management level. Our Executive Search business, Steering Point covers C and D suite HR positions.

Lee Doheny avatar
Head of HR Recruitment
+353 85 135 3820