Over the last couple of weeks the Sunday Business Post has run a couple of stories from me looking at how the web and particularly online social media can be helpful in building careers.
First up Marie Moynihan, vice-president HR, Dell EMEA spoke to me after the recent Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) event in Dublin. In the feature (out Sunday July 10th) she discussed how people could build their own ‘personal brands’ online.
‘‘These new tools give people the opportunity to plan their professional online presence in a really positive way. There is value in really analysing your network and knowing the key people to reach out to and engage with. The key thing is to put the work in to build relationships, build trust and build your own credibility.”
The second piece was out last Sunday (July 17th) – a chat with Richard Clunan founder of Wordfruit.com, a new online recruitment service for the advertising industry. Clunan told me that the web and the rise of social media were changing the way agencies were structured, and helping previously under-valued staff break through glass ceilings:
‘‘Since the 1960s, advertising agencies have produced campaigns from core teams of copywriter-plus-art director. The newer digital agencies instead have larger teams, with more diverse skills, to deal with the diverse needs of new media. These collaborative environments generate a greater sense of inclusivity, telework and flexi-time are often more acceptable. There is also more of an emphasis on communities and on nurturing relationships. These trends are more conducive to increasing the numbers of and promotion of women, and of people from ethnic minorities.”
I had an idea something was going on, but was a bit shocked at the scale and reach – China, the Ukraine, Singapore, Peru and even Kazakhstan got a mention.
Colin Donnery, president of the National Recruitment Federation (NRF), told me the trend was a new one for an industry that traditionally played closer to home.
‘‘Until recently, many Irish recruitment companies did not really look outside Ireland as they were doing quite well here. Now they are starting to look for overseas opportunities. People see success in other companies and look to replicate it. They are weighing up what is happening in Ireland versus the situation in Europe and worldwide.”
For the record the other interviewees were Robert MacGiolla Phádraig, executive director, Sigmar Recruitment, Gerald FitzGerald, chief operations officer, Morgan McKinley and Jason Kennedy, global chief executive, Grafton Employment Group. The full piece is through here on the SBPost.ie site.
April 24′s SBP ran an piece looking at how a shortfall in suitable senior candidates was impeding growth in the renewable energy sector both in Ireland and worldwide. It included interviews with among others Leyla Spencer, Global Operations Director SpenglerFox and Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland’s chief operating officer, Brian Motherway. Here’s the story on the SBPost.ie site.
In May 8th’s paper had a feature I put together including comment from Colin Donnery, president of the National Recruitment Federation (NRF), looking at how standards in the industry have held up during the downturn. Agencies are having to up their game, Donnery told me, adding extra services and working more closely with clients. The full feature is here.
And last Sunday’s piece was a look at a move by the Irish Computer Society (ICS) to hook up with its British counterpart so it can now confer Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status to eligible members. This step enables IT professionals to formally demonstrate their excellence in their chosen field and gives IT recognition similar to other more traditional professions such as engineer or surveyor, ICS chief executive, Jim Friars told me in the piece which is through here.
Last Sunday’s Business Post careers and recruitment section featured a story I wrote about a new programme being run by Institute of Technology Blanchardstown which helps currently unemployed people get back to work.
ITB’s Work Analysis Programme offers unemployed participants advice and guidance aimed at giving them support and guidance to make better career decisions and secure suitable employment.
Here’s the skinny from Adrienne Harding, access officer at Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) (pictured right).
‘‘We saw a massive appetite for guidance and support on re-training amongst people who are unemployed,” said Harding. ‘‘These people were deeply concerned about their career opportunities and very unclear as to what their options were. The programme aims to assist the students to look at education as an option, prepare them to get back into employment and also to consider alternative career options.”
It’s a really worthwhile initiative, with programme modules covering important workplace skills, including sales and communications, customer care, office and negotiation skills as well as others designed to assist with the job-hunting process, included presentation skills, CV writing, career guidance and study options.
For the full story on the SBPost.ie site click here.
Did you know that Ireland should finally get a proper modern postcode system at some point in 2011? If not then you must not have read the feature I put together on GIS (geographical information systems) for March’s Computers in Business magazine with the Sunday Business Post.
The feature included a basic intro explaining what GIS solutions can do and how organisations use them, panels looking at where the info used comes from and how they typically work – and then a forward looking conclusion looking at how the introduction of the post-code system, and other developments such as social networking location based services and mobile internet use would impact on the GIS space in future.
It’s been a hectic enough few weeks, during which the SBPost has run two features written by me on recruitment and jobs trends within the broad financial services sector – one in accountancy, and the other in insurance.
The accountancy story went out February 20th and centred on an interview with Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA) business development manager Suzanne Shaw on the numbers of recently qualified accountants leaving Ireland for opportunities overseas.
‘‘Newly-qualified accountants are heading overseas in search of jobs in more economically stable markets, such as Asia and Australia,” said Shaw. ‘CPAs are well-qualified to operate in any jurisdiction internationally, and may now be found in more than 32 countries around the world. Whether you plan to stay there or come home after a period of time, that experience would stand to you for your career.”
The insurance feature was in yesterday’s paper, and slightly more upbeat. It lead with moves by the Insurance Institute of Ireland (III) to introduce continuous professional development and career advancement programmes for its members to help them secure jobs at home.
‘‘The Insurance Institute of Ireland’s 2011 prospectus clearly sets out details on 15 qualifications, ranging from general and life insurance courses right through to qualifications specialising in private medical insurance,” Denis Kelleher, president of the III told me. ‘‘A clear qualification pathway is set out for each area of insurance, starting at the foundation certificate and ultimately leading to the fellowship programme.”
Everyone loves the New Year and everyone especially loves the annual performance appraisal that often comes with. Or perhaps not.
They tend to be a fact of life though, and some preparation by both staff and manager before going into the meeting generally pays off. I’d a feature in this week’s Sunday Business Post recruitment and careers section looking at the latest trends and developments across the performance management and measurement areas.
Perhaps unsurprisingly huge pay hikes are off the agenda, with non-monetary incentives increasingly prominent. As evidenced in this quote from Gemma Allen, director of professional services, Robert Walters.
‘‘Recognition can come in many ways,” Allen said. ‘‘Training and development or educational assistance, flexible working and team department strategy days do not need to be expensive, but are often as important as salary in motivating individual members of staff.”
For the rest of the feature click on this link which leads you through to SBPost.ie.
I was in Brussels last week for a ‘green business’ funding forum organised by the European Commission (the 9th ETAP Forum on Eco-Innovation). It was interesting to meet people from all over EU – Dutch businessmen, Belgian EU officials, German bankers etc – and hear about how the EU is supporting green / cleantech companies.
The Sunday Business Post ran my report back from the event, with comment from EEA Fund Management Ireland md Norbert Gallagher, European Commission environment spokesman Joe Hennon and Marina Donohoe, manager CleanTech, Enterprise Ireland.
Donohoe advised Irish companies seeking funding to draw on experience existing in the Irish cleantech community.
‘‘The key thing is to talk to people, both to Enterprise Ireland and to Irish companies who have been through it successfully,” she said. ‘There is an art to applying and positioning yourself to secure the funding. The likes of Techworks Marine know how it works and have secured significant EU research money.”
The full piece, including details on the different EU ‘green business’ supports available, is through here on the SBPost.ie website.
I really enjoy when the opportunity arises to do ‘green’ type stuff, so it was great to write a number of different features for this month’s Sunday Business Post Environomics supplement – including pieces on waste to energy, wood energy, sustainability policies and Irish national waste policy.
I should stick links to more of these pieces up here soon, but this particular post looks at investments in environmentally-focused businesses and start-ups, and featured chats with Eddie Cullen, head of corporate banking, Ulster Bank, Gavin Bourke, investment partner with Kernel Capital and BDO partner Sinead Heaney.
‘‘A wide range of investors, both domestic and international, have shown an interest in investing in the green economy,’’ said Cullen. ‘‘Private equity investors have been actively investing in early stage green ‘technology’ type companies in the energy efficiency, waste-to-energy and other power generation sectors. ‘Pension funds and dedicated clean energy funds are more active in the renewable energy generation sector, particularly in wind energy. Due to the high credit risks involved, projects with early stage and developmental technologies are largely funded by equity or venture funding.”
The full story can be read or downloaded in pdf format through here on my Scribd account.
‘‘Promising Generation Y candidates always have their ear to the ground for new challenges or opportunities,” Mark Hamill, global managing director of Spengler Fox said. ‘‘While they may be empathetic to recent workplace challenges, they recognise that this is not their responsibility. The problem for Ireland’s future is that, if we cannot retain Generation Y here in their early careers, we may never get them back.”
The article included research recently carried out by Spengler Fox, looking at the recruitment and HR challenges posed by ‘Generation Y’ candidates, who are typically “more confident, independent, creative and ambitious” than older workers but who “want to be challenged, take responsibility and feel they are progressing year after year.”
Hammill advised companies and recruiters to make better use of the web to impress these young folk going forward.
‘‘You are constantly trying to build systems, networks and communities so you know what talent is out there,” he said. ‘‘Respondents to our survey made suggestions such as online student games and portals, university partnerships and improved employer image and branding. It is about engagement and building emotional connections. This can be done either internally yourself, or with external recruitment partners, or in most cases by a combination of both.”