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Recruitment to Remain Strong in 2014 says Ken Murphy, Director, CareerWise Recruitment

Technical job vacancies up 19% as confidence returns

In an article today by Joe Dermody in the Irish Examiner, CareerWise Recruitment Director, Ken Murphy said he had seen a turnaround since the start of the year, with client companies in Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals, ICT and Engineering, Food and Agri all looking to take on staff.

Ken Murphy (Director, CareerWise Recruitment)

Ireland has recently been named the number one country to do business in by Forbes Magazine. This paints a positive picture for the future of Ireland’s manufacturing industry and consequently, opportunities within it.

Recruitment in the manufacturing industry in Ireland has gone through quite a severe cycle of peaks and troughs; however, signs for 2014 are positive. Employment in the manufacturing industry remains strong. A significant part of recruitment activity is primarily in the multinationals, across Medical Devices, Pharma, ICT and Engineering companies, while the Food and Agri sector also remains reasonably buoyant”.

CareerWise Recruitment Director, Ken Murphy

The smaller SME’s within the indigenous sector have been slower to pick up, but with confidence returning, this is changing.

Industry Challenge

He outlined the central challenge facing recruitment in the manufacturing industry in Ireland: a difficulty in sourcing people with the right skills.

He said; This can be due to a number of factors. Most obviously, the well documented issue of a shortage of graduates in the technical and scientific disciplines. In addition it can be due to geographic mobility, location of opportunities, or a more conservative approach to job the recruitment market.

Ken continued, “We now consider the option of looking outside of Ireland to source talent,” “Clearly, the long term solution is to encourage people into science and engineering programmes at third level. Science and Engineering are the most critical disciplines.” He pointed out that the government has already done a great deal to encourage students towards Science and Engineering in order to address a longer term skills shortage.

He  also pointed out another possible solution to the shortage of relevant skills in the sector is re-training and education. “In certain cases, employers will consider a degree of retraining.” Ken highlighted the importance of companies being willing to invest in an existing workforce. “We just need to keep ensuring that we have an adequate supply of talent coming through. Many companies now have their own graduate programmes that demonstrate a strong commitment to developing their own talent from within.

 Adaptation and Change

There are multiple other challenges facing the manufacturing industry, Ken outlined how the industry can remain strong, “The key focus from the manufacturing stand point is to stay cost competitive,” he said.

The recession highlighted the need for manufacturing in Ireland to become more competitive within the global scheme of things. We had become very un-competitive in most sectors. There is now a huge focus on Continuous Improvement across all industries, both International and Irish, and this has become an ongoing process.

He pointed out that opportunities will continue to flourish in medical devices and technology and that we need to be ready to embrace them. Ken pointed out that changes are coming for certain aspects of the industry, particularly pharmaceuticals, “The Pharmaceutical sector at the moment is going through a re-shape towards bio-pharmaceuticals. There’s a lot of consolidation happening in the pharma industry and that can be challenging, and indeed have its own consequences, but this is somewhat counteracted by growth in Biopharma.”

 Global Ties

Ken pointed out the good news for Ireland when it comes to growth and recruitment, as it is seen as a positive place to work, emphasised by the Forbes article released recently. “The positive thing for Ireland is that our demographics are good when you look at the growth rates,” he said. “We have been able to attract a significant number of high profile American companies. This is due to many factors; among them being our common language, an ability to function across the two time zones, our political stability and our pro business culture.

Ireland is an attractive location for global shared service centres and this growth area is offering new opportunity to existing companies. Many companies have adapted and are essentially developing global businesses in Ireland. There is a huge skillset across the supply chain and we’ve seen a lot of transitions by people from manufacturing into global roles and running much bigger businesses. Ireland has grown as a key player in the global supply chain industry, “Ireland is very much a global hub from a shared service and supply chain standpoint,” said Ken. “There is huge opportunity because we have the skills here and it is about selling what we have to the corporations. We can continue to grow and develop that side of the business.”

 Secure Future

As to the future, Ken pointed out the importance of high end manufacturing and technology companies to job creation in Ireland.

In 2014, the Pharma sector will stay fairly steady, and I think the Medical Device sector continues to grow significantly. Ireland has become a hub for Medical Devices, with 9 out of the top 10 manufacturers in the world based here. The ICT sector is still buoyant. I think it is a positive story for 2014. The confidence is coming back.

Ken Murphy, Director Career Wise Recrutiment


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