Multi-lingual talent acquisition in Ireland
I am one of the 766,770 Irish residents born outside Ireland. I discovered this when digging around the CSO website yesterday. I must admit that I am not usually a keen reader of CSO stats however, as an Englishman and cricket fan, I found it riveting. The reason I was digging around on the CSO site was to try and find any information on language skills in Ireland. It all started earlier this week when I was listening to the Newstalk breakfast show whilst driving in. They reported on the news that 500 jobs in PayPal’s Dundalk Operations Centre are being recruited elsewhere and I decided I wanted to know more about our language capabilities.
According to the CSO report we ARE a multi-lingual country. A question on foreign languages was asked for the first time in census 2011. The results show that over half a million (514,068) Irish residents spoke a foreign language at home and that, unsurprisingly, Polish was by far the most common, followed by French, Lithuanian and German. So 11% of Irish residents speak a language other than English or Irish at home.
How, I asked myself, would I target and recruit foreign language employees in Ireland? You see whilst I accept that organisations like PayPal are finding it difficult to find multi-lingual specialists I also believe that many of the language and skill combinations are available in Ireland. These highly prized candidates simply don’t realise that there are vacancies out there because many recruitment strategies ignore the possibilities of advertising as a sourcing tool. We have clients who target these audiences to sell mobile phone deals and money transfer services so why not recruitment?
The obvious starting point is digital. Using fairly standard ad serving technology and targeting we can identify Irish users of key overseas websites. For instance we could serve advertising at any Irish user visiting the major news sites in Sweden – logically this allows us to target Swedish speakers in Ireland. Flipping this approach on its head we could also serve advertising on Irish sites to overseas users which should logically mean that the people we are targeting are either interested in Ireland or are Irish and living in that country.
There are also a range of less formal channels. My Dutch colleague highlighted a special Facebook page set up for Dutch people in Dublin and Ireland. She also mentioned an informal network operating through the embassy, a notice board at the hostel she first stayed in when arriving in Ireland and a Dutch government site that posts jobs and info about finding work in Ireland.
At a more traditional level there are a number of print titles covering the Polish, Chinese, South East Asian, Pakistani and Filipino communities, advertisers have also used a range of posters sites targeting public transport. Other suggestions included targeting sports bars and pubs specialising in overseas events. There is even a network of over 100 poster sites in ethnic food stores across Dublin.
Obviously I have just skimmed the surface of what is possible but, if the reports on the PayPal situation are correct, then hiring language specialists in Ireland offers a considerable cost saving over hiring abroad and on that basis alone recruiters should be looking at their options or better still, asking us to do it for them!
Finally, I did investigate if my own specialist language skills are valued in the market. Sadly I can report that nobody seems to be targeting the “Sarf Lahnden” dialect.