Demand for professionals to work in contact centres in Ireland increased 40% year-on-year to March 2018 as global organisations increasingly look to set up or expand customer service functions in the country, according to data from Guidant IRC.
These latest findings follow separate research from recruitment software company, Innovantage, which found that demand for customer service professionals across Ireland increased by 46% in the second half of 2017 compared to the first half of the year.
Vacancies for complaints handlers rose most rapidly, increasing by 137% in the second half of 2017, which Guidant IRC attributes to customer service being increasingly seen as a brand differentiator, particularly in the digital age.
Demand for professionals with an additional language, including French, Italian and Spanish, increased by 47% year-on-year. Of the candidates filling these roles, 20% were non-Irish nationals relocating from overseas.
This comes at a time when, according to official figures from Ireland's Central Statistics Office, net inward migration increased by 19,800 in the year ending April 2017, representing the highest level in population growth in a decade.
"Following news that Ireland's economy grew three times faster than any other European location in 2017 - which the EU Commission has, in part, attributed to a surge in multinational companies expanding into Ireland - this boom in demand for customer service professionals is not unexpected," said Niamh O'Brien, Client Solutions Director at Guidant IRC and Irish Recruitment Consultants (IRC).
"There have been a number of high-profile examples of multinationals expanding in Ireland in recent months, including the launch of Google's latest office in Dublin. However, while this has created opportunities across the board, customer service, in particular, is a real hotspot and a function that our country delivers particularly well.
"What's more, with Innovantage data finding that vacancies for customer service personnel in the first two months of 2018 increased by 73% compared to the same period in 2017, initial indications are that demand throughout 2018 will grow at least as much as, if not more than, last year.
"Organisations which once offshored international contact centres to countries such as India are increasingly bringing the function back to Europe, and Ireland is an ideal destination. The local talent pool is rich with languages thanks to a combination of the education system and the fact that the country is a hub for people traveling to improve language skills, and we expect to see greater numbers of people choose Ireland as a destination to live and work in the wake of Brexit.
"Against this backdrop, traditional recruitment methods are unlikely to provide the calibre and volume of talent or the speed and quality of delivery - that businesses need to keep pace. As such, an increasing number of organisations are realising the value of the managed service model to deliver the skills they need to thrive during this exciting period of growth."