Employer Branding Talent Acquisition Timebound

How Ireland is Attracting Tech Talent

Dublin punches above its weight in attracting global tech giants. Microsoft, Intel, Symantec and Oracle are all well-established for years. More recently Internet giants including Twitter, Facebook and Google have made the city their European HQ. This cluster effect creates economic and social benefits that are well-documented. But for the growth to continue one key ingredient is essential: people, lots of them.

Ireland is known as a country that traditionally exports its talent. It’s one of the only countries in the world with a smaller population than it had 200 years ago. There are over 800,000 Irish born people living outside the country. More people in the UK claim Irish heritage than there are people in Ireland!

Thankfully the trend reversed, dramatically, in the past decade. Between 2002 and 2011 the non-national population grew from 5.8% of the population to 12%. Many of them are working in the IT sector where demand for the right tech, sales, marketing, operations and multi-lingual skills is at a premium.

In Ireland, as elsewhere, there is a lot of talk about what should be done to build a pipeline of talent into the country. It is, after all, the raw material that drives the innovation sector. It’s beyond the scope of any individual employer to shoulder the responsibility of branding their city or country as an attractive destination for professionals. But it’s a collective good for all employers if it is done.

I met with a group of proactive recruiters from the biggest tech employers in Dublin who were discussing this issue and trying to figure out a way to tackle it. Everybody saw the benefits of co-operation. We put together a proof of concept plan, funded entirely by the companies, to see if we could make an impact.

Make IT in Ireland was launched last week. The plan is to make people around Europe aware of the opportunities that exist in Ireland and promote the benefits of living here. What a great job! contains one simple message:

Ireland is home to the world’s best technology companies. We’re looking for the best people!

It contains useful information about moving to Ireland and has links to the careers site of the sponsor companies.
A decision was made not to include job posts. This was for two reasons: one we didn’t want it to appear like a jobs board, and secondly it removed any additional administrative workload for the companies.

Instead, candidates are directed to the career sites of the companies where they can apply for roles directly. Reports on this activity are one of the key performance indicators of interest to the companies.

Another benefit to the companies, and candidates, is that people can submit their CV into a CV database. All of the companies can then login and review the CVs. When candidates apply they’re encouraged to categorise their skills into back end developer, front end developer, sales/marketing, content creation, customer service/support or other. Companies than then review by category or do keyword searches based on the text of the CVs which is indexed.

A great website, however, is like the proverbial lighthouse in a bog: brilliant but useless. We have to reach a widely dispersed European demographic that’s bombarded with marketing messages. Thankfully, some of the companies involved are social media players including Twitter, Facebook and Google. This helps.

Almost all of the people in demand for careers in the tech sector are heavy users of social media. It’s the obvious way for us to reach them. We’ll also experiment with paid search on Google and Bing, and potentially other channels.

Changing jobs and moving to another country isn’t typically an impulse move. What we’re doing will take time. If successful it should make the recruiters’ jobs a little easier and play a part in building a sustainable pipeline of talent into the country.

Author: John Dennehy is founder of, a recruitment software and marketing company.

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