White-collar workers eye up ‘Plan B’ jobs amid tech cuts

Some 64% of survey respondents monitoring employment market

Concerned about a lack of job security in their current role, a third of Irish white-collar workers have admitted to taking steps to prepare to look for a Plan B job, a new survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters has revealed.

Thousands of jobs have been lost in Ireland over the past six months as big tech names like Meta, Microsoft and Amazon, among others, have moved to pare back staffing here as part of wider, global cost-cutting initiatives.

Against this backdrop, 35 per cent of white-collar workers in the Republic say they are being proactive about looking around for alternatives should their current circumstances change. Called “career cushioning”, it is a phenomenon that Robert Walters believes has “grown in prominence due to ongoing lay-offs in Ireland’s tech sector”.

Job satisfaction

The single biggest reason, cited by 70 per cent of the 2,000 survey respondents, was a lack of job security in their current role. Some 56 per cent said they were concerned about turbulent economic conditions while 44 per cent said they are concerned about internal changes in their business and 35 per cent said they had low job satisfaction.


The most common methods cited by the respondents were actively monitoring the jobs market (64 per cent), preparing their CV (45 per cent) and increasing their networking activities (32 per cent). Just 34 per cent, however, said that they had actually started applying for jobs.

Meanwhile, a quarter of professionals admitted that having looked around at the opportunities available to them and assessed their own skill levels, they appreciated their employer more. One in five admitted that their current employer pays better than the market average.

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“Career cushioning needn’t always be looked at as a negative by employers,” said Suzanne Feeney, country manager at Robert Walters Ireland. There is also no guarantee that workers who are weighing their options will necessarily leave.

“It’s an old adage but employees researching opportunities elsewhere can often illustrate to them that the grass isn’t always greener.”

Overall, Ms Feeney said that “staff retention needs to be top of all employers list” in the current labour market.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times