Q3 2020 Recruitment Monitor – 31% Fall in Advertised Senior Roles in the Not-For-Profit Sector this Quarter

2into3 Recruitment Monitor Q3 2020

Every quarter, the 2into3 Recruitment Monitor tracks roles advertised on a weekly basis, to illustrate trends and the overall health of senior level recruitment in the sector in Ireland. As expected, the impact of coronavirus pandemic continues to be in the latest analysis.

Data from the latest quarter shows the previous levels of growth in recruitment have slowed in all but one sub-sector, namely Health, and the number of organisations who are hiring have reduced.  While this may seem like all doom and gloom, the findings also tell us that over 100 senior roles were advertised across 79 organisations, which is positive.


Looking into the numbers at Sub-sector level:

  • 3 sub-sectors (Religion, Environment and Professional & Vocational) all had zero recruitment for senior roles in Q3, while Philanthropy & Voluntarism sub-sector had just one role.
  • Only two sub-sectors saw an increase in recruitment activity, led by Health sub-sector, increasing by 26% versus that same period last year (from 22 to 28 roles). Arts, Culture & Media saw marginal growth up from 3 to 4 roles.
  • One subsector (Advocacy, Law & Politics) experienced no change, while the remaining subsectors were down when compared to same period last year.

Variation of roles by Subsector Q3 2020- 2into3

Our three-monthly analysis also allows for tracking of activity across the different quarters throughout the year. As Ireland continues to adjust and make best of the situation we are all in, we are seeing some green shoots when we compare April-June 2020 with July-September 2020. At a total level, senior recruitment in the sector is up by almost 16% (110 versus 95 roles). This modest increase is driven by the Health sub-sector but could hopefully augur well for the final three months of 2020.

Management Roles Advertised by SubSector Q3 2020

Role Types

It is probably not a big surprise that (with the exception of one category) all the role types we track showed a significant decrease (between 35% and 78%) The outlier that saw an increase in roles advertised was Delivery & Operational Management (up 17%) and this could well be an example of a role type that simply cannot be postponed. All the others can be managed or reallocated in the short-term, but the core of what you do as an organisation cannot.

With regard to Fundraising roles in particular, comparing Q3 versus Q2 2020, there was a significant jump in roles advertised, rising from 10 to 23 roles. It may well be that organisations held back on such activity while the lockdown was at its most severe but have accepted that funds still need to be raised, by whatever pandemic-appropriate measures necessary.

Management Roles Advertised by Role Type Q3 2020

Income Levels

For those organisations where we have financial details available, 72 of 108, 43% of them had an income in 2018 of over €10M, while 19% reported an income below €1M.


Recruiter v. In-House

The number of roles advertised across recruitment agencies fell by 4 percentage points (20% in Q3 2019 vs 16% in Q3 2020).  From 2into3’s perspective however, we have seen a very busy Q3, despite the declining figures for the overall sector. During these three months, we have successful worked on delivery of 12 roles (with 7 commencing between July and September), a significant increase on the level of activity we saw in Q3 2019.



It will come as no surprise to anyone that recruitment activity has dropped this quarter versus the same period last year, given where we are as a sector and a nation, but there are some optimistic signals to note, not least that there was such a respectable level of activity at all. Certain sub-sectors and certain roles seem to be more resilient, but there will always be variations within such a large and diverse sector.

Anecdotally, the experience of 2into3 has been a strong level of candidate interest in the roles for which we have recruited.  Based on the feedback from our clients, the quality of our candidate pool continues to be high.

What the final quarter of 2020 will bring will tell alot, as we continue adapting even more to the “new normal”.


Interested in finding out more, contact Fergal O’Sullivan, Head of Recruitment at 2into3, or call +353 86 180 6051

Management Roles by Subsector Q3 2020 2into3 Recruitment Monitor

Impact of Covid-19 on Recruitment Q2 2020

For the last few years, 2into3 has tracked the level of senior recruitment activity in Ireland. The quarterly snapshot allows us to see any mini-trends as they are happening, and to understand who is recruiting, and for what roles.

It will come as no surprise that the data we captured during the second quarter of 2020 show a significant decline in recruitment activity versus the previous year, before COVID-19 took hold. But looking a bit closer at the numbers does show a few interesting variations on an all too common theme.

The total number of management level roles advertised in this period from April to June was 95, a 45% drop from the 173 recorded in 2019. The data also showed a 42% drop in the number of organisations recruiting at a senior level, dropping from 128 in 2019 to 74 in 2020.

Breaking this down further, we can see that only 2 sub-sectors saw an increase in the level of senior recruitment (Local Development & Housing and Religion). Every other sector had reduced activity, some significantly so (e.g. Health and Social Services).

Management Roles Advertised by Sub Sector
Q2 2019 Q2 2020 Diff.
Advocacy, Law & Politics​​ 11 6.36% 6 6.32% -5
Arts, Culture & Media ​​ 4 2.31% 1 1.05% -3
Education & Research​​ 18 10.40% 11 11.58% -7
Environment​​ 1 0.58% 1 1.05% 0
Health​​ 32 18.50% 17 17.89% -15
International​​ 11 6.36% 2 2.11% -9
Local Development & Housing​​ 17 9.83% 23 24.21% 6
Philanthropy & Voluntarism ​​ 2 1.16% 2 2.11% 0
Professional & Vocational​​ 1 0.58% 1 1.05% 0
Recreation & Sport​​ 6 3.47% 3 3.16% -3
Religion​​ 1 0.58% 3 3.16% 2
Social Services​​ 65 37.57% 24 25.26% -41
N/A​​ 4 2.31% 1 1.05% -3
173 95 -78


Of those organisations who were recruiting and where financial information was available (59 out of 77), 39% had an annual income of over €10M, while 22% were under €1M.

Every one of the main types of roles that we track saw a reduction in recruitment levels, but again with variation across the range.

Management Roles Advertised by Role Type
Q2 2019 Q2 2020 Diff.
Administration, Strategy & Governance​ 20 11.6% 3 3.2% -17
CEO/Executive Director​ 18 10.4% 14 14.7% -4
Communications & Marketing​ 13 7.5% 2 2.1% -11
Finance ​ 9 5.2% 8 8.4% -1
Fundraising & Business Development​ 40 23.1% 10 10.5% -30
HR​ 11 6.4% 3 3.2% -8
Service Delivery & Operational Management​ 62 35.8% 55 57.9% -7
173 95 -78


CEO recruitment dipped slightly, from 18 roles in 2019 to 14 in 2020 (down 22%), while Fundraising and Business Development roles experienced a dramatic 75% decline from 40 in Q2 2019 to 10 in Q2 2020.

Others were relatively unscathed, with Finance roles dropping from just 9 to 8 in the comparable periods, and while there were 7 fewer Service Delivery & Operational Management​ roles, this represented a drop of just 11% (62, down to 55).

In terms of what this data tells us, the most obvious learning is that COVID-19 has had a significant effect on recruitment at a senior level in the not-for-profit sector, but then, we really didn’t need to conduct a detailed analysis to know this.

It does show however that there is a variation in how the pandemic is affecting different sub-sectors, with some pulling back on recruitment more than others. This may well reflect the inescapable need for certain organisations to maintain their staffing levels and the option that others may have to postpone recruiting new staff members, or even replacing departing colleagues.

Anecdotally, 2into3 has had one of its busiest quarters in recent years in terms of our senior recruitment, with 17 roles being managed by us between mid-March and August, so there is still a significant level of activity in the sector. Whether this continues, and whether it continues to impact different areas in different ways will only become evident as we make our way back to the “new normal” in the second half of this exceptional year.


Patricia Keenan - 2into3 Belfast office

Belfast office now open – Lead by Patricia Keenan

Patricia Keenan - 2into3 Belfast office

We are delighted to announce the opening of our Belfast office, headed up by Patricia Keenan, Management Consultant. Patricia has been a consultant for over a decade after a career in the public and voluntary sector across the island of Ireland and in London. She worked for local authorities, government departments and social enterprises at a senior level before embarking on a career in consulting in 2005, for a diverse range of public and private sector clients. Patricia will lead the business in Northern Ireland and the border counties.

Patricia is an experienced project manager and has led on a number million pound EU funded projects. She has extensive experience in the rural development sector and LEADER funding across Northern Ireland, having previously sat on the Board of the regional LEADER company. She also oversaw the completion of an all Island diversity training programme within the public sector, a first of its kind. With Patricia on-board we are looking forward to offering a full Island of Ireland service to our clients and working more closely with not-for-profits in Northern Ireland and Northwest region.

In March 2020 we opened our Cork office, led by Rob Foley and now 5 months on we are delighted to continue our expansion northwards. Since starting in 2006, we have expanded our service offering to include Fundraising Strategy, Strategic Planning, Organisational Reviews, Recruitment and Research. We have a wealth of knowledge from working across the diverse range of not-for-profit sub-sectors from Social Services and Health to Education and Sport.

New Year New Career Irish Times 2into3

2into3 Recruitment – New Year New Career in Association with Irish Times

Happy New Year!

If you are considering a career change or a new role in the Not-for-Profit sector in Ireland, check out Fergal O’Sullivan’s interview with the Irish Times.

Or see the article below:


Charity begins at work: The lure of the not-for-profit sector

For those who want to work for an organisation with a more meaningful mission, there are many opportunities in the not-for-profit sector

“Successful senior managers, particularly CEO-level, will need to have all the required business acumen, regulatory experience, and board-engagement experience.” Photograph: iStock

“Successful senior managers, particularly CEO-level, will need to have all the required business acumen, regulatory experience, and board-engagement experience.” Photograph: iStock

As a new year begins, many people weighing up job prospects may be tempted to look at the not-for-profit centre. Shifting to an organisation with a more meaningful mission is the key reason people join the sector, suggests Fergal O’Sullivan, head of recruitment at 2into3. The Dublin-based recruitment agency has been working with the not-for-profit sector since 2006.

“We get a lot of interest from people who are in the commercial sector who are looking for a career change, and who want to give something back through a purposeful role,” says O’Sullivan. While 2into3 focuses on senior-level roles, there are openings in the sector at every level, with charities and organisations recruiting for anything from street fundraisers to chief executives.

Street fundraising

Working as part of a street fundraising team may be the right fit for the right person, especially someone outgoing who is looking to break into the sector. “While we don’t often deal with these positions, the skills needed are mainly patience, perseverance and an ability to get on well with people, as this work is very much a sales-type role and not one for the shy and retiring. If you do feel you have that personality and drive, it can be a very rewarding role,” says O’Sullivan.


“The roles and responsibilities in communications positions can be quite similar to marketing roles in the commercial sector,” says O’Sullivan. “So anyone with a strong background in marketing, PR and general communications may well find they have transferable skills they could bring to the role. Very often, communications is also combined with a fundraising role, as so much of the task of raising funds is communicating the mission of the organisation and the impact the funds will have.”

Head of function roles

“We would recruit for head of function roles for a number of disciplines on a regular basis, including HR manager and finance manager. For roles such as these, the sector in which you operate is less important than having the core skills required to perform the role properly,” says O’Sullivan.

“Roles such as these offer the greatest opportunity for people who are looking for a career with purpose to transfer from the commercial sector into the world of not-for-profit, as the skills required are most obviously transferable,” he says. “Once such a move is made, the exposure to the sector and its own ways of working can make career progression much easier.”

Senior management and chief executive roles

“Senior management roles are the heart of the recruitment activity in 2into3,” says O’Sullivan. “Be that at chief executive level, or as director of fundraising. For such a high-level position, there will likely be the need to know and understand the not-for-profit sector and what the position usually entails for their particular sub-sector, so it may not be a first point for someone moving from the commercial sector. In addition, successful senior managers, particularly CEO-level, will need to have all the required business acumen, regulatory experience, and board-engagement experience you would expect for such a position.”

Niche roles

Part of the appeal for people joining the not-for-profit sector is that there may be more opportunity to blend skills and experience in roles that more accurately fit the person. “The joy of working in the not-for-profit sector is that there’s a huge variance of roles,” says O’Sullivan.

“We would do a certain amount of targeting, particularly for harder-to-fill roles, where we would go out to both our own existing network of people that we know, and also do some executive searching online to find people who would match the particular skill-set,” he says.

While recruiters also work with people with not-for-profit sector experience looking to join a new organisation, it is rarer than people making a transition across from the commercial sector, suggests O’Sullivan. “Many people who end up working in not-for-profit organisations do so because they have a very strong passion for the mission of that organisation. So they tend to be quite at home in it. I think it is one of the biggest draws to the sector, that work can become more than just a job that pays a salary.”

2into3 Recruitment Monitor Q3 2019

Senior Recruitment Activity in the Irish Not-for-Profit Sector Continues to Increase

2into3 Recruitment Monitor Q3 2019


2into3 have released the latest quarterly review of senior recruitment activity in the Irish not-for-profit sector. The 2into3 Recruitment Monitor takes a snapshot every three months of what is happening at the mid to senior range of roles being advertised, allowing those working in the sector better understand the market movements.

In the Q3 – 2019 edition of the Monitor, the research shows that competition within the not-for-profit sector continues to intensify as the demand for candidates for senior roles increases year on year.

Commenting on the release of the latest data, Fergal O’Sullivan, Head of Recruitment at 2into3, said: “It is interesting, but not surprising, to see the level of activity continues to increase, not only quarter on quarter, but year on year. From our own activity and monitoring of the sector as we approach full employment, the number of roles advertised for senior not-for-profit roles continues to increase. This healthy recruitment market brings with it its own set of challenges for recruiters in the sector, as the upward trend identified shows no sign of slowing.”

Key highlights from this quarter’s Recruitment Monitor indicate:
• The number of senior roles advertised in Q3 2019 was 159, an increase of 51% on the same period last year. There was also an increase in the number of organisations recruiting for these positions, from 90 to 108 organisations.
• Drilling down by function, while the number of CEO/Executive Director roles remained static Fundraising and Business Development positions increased by 142%, Communications & Marketing by 125% and Finance by 114%. There was little or no change in the number of Administration, Strategy and Governance roles.
• At a sub-sector level, Social Services organisations were by far the most active in Q3, accounting for almost 28% of roles advertised. Health was second, with 14%. Local Development and Housing and Education & Research organisations each accounted for 11% of roles.

For further insights into this quarter’s activity please contact Fergal O’Sullivan on (01) 234 3165 or fergal.osullivan@2into3.com

Senior Recruitment in the Not-for-Profit Sector Continues to Rise

Recruitment in the not-for-profit sector is much more active according to the latest edition of the 2into3 Quarterly Recruitment Monitor. There were 55% more management-level roles opportunities in Q2 2019 (173) than there were in Q2 2018 (112).

To complement the Quarterly Recruitment Monitor, 2into3 also released a snapshot survey to learn more about the experiences of hiring managers in the current market. Results showed that not-for-profit organisations are finding it challenging to recruit management-level talent with one respondent stating that their organisation ‘could not compete in terms of renumeration’.

Results from the survey also showed that the main purpose for not-for-profit recruitment so far in 2019 has been to replace staff members that have left. This was particularly pertinent finding given that 5% of the roles advertised so far in 2019 were also advertised in 2018.

Reflecting on the findings from the latest edition of the Quarterly Recruitment Monitor and the recruitment survey 2into3’s Head of Recruitment, Fergal O’Sullivan, notes: “In a market where candidates find it easier to shop around there is a question to be asked about what action organisations can take to ensure that they remain an employer of choice to not only attract, but to also retain talent?”

The Quarterly Recruitment Monitor is a free-to access publication that serves as a benchmarking resource that provides CEOs, hiring managers and board members in the not-for-profit sector with detailed insights on key trends within the current recruitment market. You can download a full version of the report here.

Recruiting in full employment – How does the not-for-profit sector keep up?

In May 2019, the Central Statistics Office reported that the level of unemployment in Ireland had fallen to just 4.4%, quite a contrast from the 12.1% reported in May 2009.

The recent economic recovery has seen phenomenal growth in the number of job opportunities available, with the term “full employment” appearing more and more in news headlines.

Indeed, there are positive effects of full employment, such as improved income levels and GDP, reduced social protection payments and increased tax revenues that can be used either to reduce taxes or increase spending.

From an employer’s perspective, the current economic state can bring several challenges when seeking to both attract and retain the best people and the not-for-profit sector is certainly no exception. In fact, it may be feeling the impact even more than the commercial area.

Data on not-for-profit recruitment activity is somewhat thin on the ground, but the 2into3 Quarterly Recruitment Monitor can give us something of an insight into the last three years at least. During that time, the number of management roles advertised within the sector during the first half of the year has risen from 107 in 2017, to 201 in 2018 and a substantial 281 so far in 2019.

The cause of this trend is rooted in more than one area, with some possibly contradictory and maybe not mutually exclusive. Are there more organisations seeking to expand their activity and need to hire for new positions, or are senior managers moving to new roles with other organisations and need to be replaced? Are organisations who previously had no requirement to publicly advertise, or use the services of external recruiters now, having to make that shift in approach?

Whatever the root cause, the figures and the feedback we receive clearly points to a challenge for the sector. With a “sellers’ market” very much in operation at the moment, not-for-profit hiring managers need to know how to compete and to know who the competition is.

Commercial companies are often able to offer far more attractive overall packages to prospective employees, with higher salaries, greater opportunities for advancement and in many cases a range of other benefits.

The risk for not-for-profits is to try to compete head-on with such an offering. More often than not, this will be a losing approach, given the comparative resources available. Instead, organisations need to think outside this narrow framework.

Sure, there is a need to offer the most competitive salary and benefits package that the organisation can afford; after all, if you want to attract the best, you need to offer the best you can. But if this runs the risk of starting an “arms race” of competing salaries against companies who have deeper pockets than yours, other approaches are needed as well.

It is our experience that a large number of people working in the not-for-profit sector do so for reasons other than the salary they earn. They know the work, while often stressful and time-consuming, offers a purposeful career. They are often working within a culture that recognises and rewards their hard work and commitment, while offering a realistic work-life balance.

As long as this employment market exists, the challenge can also be viewed as an opportunity for the not-for-profit sector to promote its “employer brand” as something more than the basic elements of a job and salary.

2into3 Recruitment Monitor Q1 2019

Senior Recruitment in the Irish Not-For-Profit Sector on the Rise

Recruitment for senior roles in the Irish not-for-profit sector has seen a significant rise over the last year.

In our Quarterly Recruitment Monitor for Q1 2019, 2into3’s Recruitment Team identified 108 senior or management roles advertised in the first three months of the year, a 30% increase on the same period in 2018.

Other significant developments identified by the analysis include a significant increase in Service Delivery & Operational roles, up from 19 in Q1 2018 to 43 in Q1 2019.

Commenting on the results of the analysis, Fergal O’Sullivan, Head of Recruitment with 2into3 said: “The continued increase in the number of management roles being advertised, especially the year-on-year increase in Q1, is evidence of a sector that is not only recovering strongly, but is becoming more professional with each passing quarter. The public demand for well-managed charities with a professional approach to good governance is being addressed by this search for strong leadership.”

The Quarterly Recruitment Monitor is now entering its third year and it has found that for eight consecutive quarters, social services organisations are the most active recruiters in the sector. The Monitor is a free-to access publication and you can download a full version of the report here.

2into3 works with Sensational Kids

In late 2018, 2into3 began working closely with Sensational Kids, a not-for-profit that provides much-needed services for children with additional needs. The organisation was founded by Karen Leigh, headquartered in Kildare but impacting positively on the lives of thousands of children across Ireland.

In November 2018, 2into3 delivered a Masterclass to the Social Innovation Fund Accelerator Programme, of which Karen was a Member. She told us afterwards that Sensational Kids had in the past found fundraising to be challenge, which meant they were struggling to fulfil the needs of the service users.

We initially engaged with Sensational Kids through three Workshops to establish a sustainable fundraising strategy and stemming from this, we helped to identify a need to establish a national fundraising strategy with local remit whilst providing some contract consultancy and project fundraising support.

2into3 Director and Head of Consulting and Research, Dennis O’Connor. Will also be providing mentoring support to the Regional Business Manager in their Clonaklilty office. Dennis, originally from the Mardyke in Cork, has a vast knowledge of the fundraising landscape in Ireland, earned from his experience working in the sector for the past 13 years. We have also placed a Graduate Development Assistant for their centre in Claremorris, Co Mayo through our graduate programme, For Purpose.

Our work with Sensational Kids does not stop there; as our new Head of Recruitment Fergal O’Sullivan, is currently recruiting both a Capital campaign Manager and a National Fundraising and Communications Manager.

Karen Leigh explained that: “Sensational Kids are delighted to have benefitted from the specialist consultancy from 2into3 to develop our fundraising strategy which has helped us to identify the specific fundraising needs of our organisation and provide us with the supports required to deliver this strategy over the coming years.”

2into3 have had a wonderful experience working with Sensational Kids and are delighted to give our support to an organisation that makes such an incredible difference to the lives of its service users.