Strong bounce back in Recruitment of Senior roles in Q4 2020

At the end of a year like no other, we have experienced a quarter like to no other when it comes to recruitment of senior roles in the Irish nonprofit sector. While the figures for the year as a whole are down compared to 2019, the figures for the last 3 months of 2020 show there was what might be described as pent-up demand for senior talent, with a 43% increase in the number of roles advertised versus the same period last year.

Annually, the total figure is down from 584 in 2019 to 558 in 2020, but as the chart below clearly shows, this contraction came in the middle two quarters of the year, at the time of the first lockdown and the slow initial move to some normality, however short-lived.

2into3 Recruitment Monitor Q4 2020 Number of roles Advertised by quarter

Given the circumstances, it is possibly of limited value to review individual quarters, so our focus here has shifted to the more meaningful data relating to the full year 2020 in comparison to 2019 and before, when coronavirus was a word few of had ever even heard.

For those keen to follow the trends of October to December year on year, we have produced our regular infographic summary of the key findings and would be happy to share any additional data, if anyone is interested in delving a little deeper.

2into3 Quarterly Recruitment Monitor Q4 2020 for Not-for-Profit sector Ireland

In summary, the same four sub-sectors continue to represent the greatest levels of activity (social services, health, local development and housing and education and research). Given current circumstances, it will come as no surprise that the greatest increase in roles advertised was in the area of Health, up 112.5% versus 2019.

What happened in 2020 vs previous years?

Looking at the full year then, behind the 558 roles we identified (a 4.5% drop on 2019), there was little in the way of consistency across the different types of roles. CEO-level roles increased from 57 to 69, while Fundraising positions fell from 163 to 98. The number of roles focus on delivering organisations’ core Service Delivery increased substantially, from 204 to 267, while all other areas, with the notable exception of Finance roles, fell year-on-year.

2into3 insights into recruitment for Not-for-Profit sector 2020, type of roles advertised

What happened within the subsectors of the Nonprofit sector?

One additional observation relates to the types of organisations recruiting in 2020 versus 2019. All the main subsectors were represented in the data captured by 2into3, with consistency across many of these year-on-year. Exceptions would include Health, as previously mentioned, as well as some significant increases in activity for organisations within the Local Development & Housing and Social Services subsectors. While coming from a smaller scale, the increase from 19 to 28 in the Advocacy, Law & Politics subsector is also worth noting.

Q4 2020 Rectuitment trends

As a team of recruitment professionals, when we reviewed the figures, we were interested in the percentage of organisations that used an external recruiter to assist in their search for these senior roles and noted a decline between 2019 (25%) and 2020 (18%).  This poses the question why organisations chose to use the services of an external recruiter over managing it internally.

But that is a subject for another day. For now, we hope the snapshot of data we have shared here is of interest to you and that it points to a stronger year for us all in the sector. As always, if you have any questions on any of this, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Fergal O’Sullivan is Head of Recruitment Services with 2into3.