How we work and how work is viewed is changing at a breakneck pace, but some things will never change, Maureen Lynch of international recruitment firm Hays, tells.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Maureen Lynch of Hays Ireland sent the firm’s first CV by email, in an era when fax, post, and newspaper jobs section still ruled the roost.
That was seen as almost revolutionary in the industry when Ms Lynch joined Hays Ireland in 2000.
The Ballyvourney native is now a director of the recruitment firm’s Irish business, which employs 7,800 staff in 245 offices across 33 countries.
How we work and how work is viewed may be changing at a breakneck pace, but some things will never change, Ms Lynch said.
“I’m coming up to 20 years with Hays and when I joined, how you got a CV to a client was by post or by fax. I applied to Hays by fax, and I was the first to send a CV by email out of the office. However, what we always say within our business is that the fundamentals of the job haven’t changed. It’s about finding great people for our clients and is still about finding the right opportunity for candidates,” she says.
She says that artificial intelligence (AI) which was developing five years ago, is now almost common.
No one knew what blockchain technology was five years ago, but is actually prevalent now, she notes, adding that personality skills and not only technical skills still matter the most.
“The AI will be able to do a lot, but the person who can understand the nuances, how it works will be critical. We talk about Stem (Science, technology, engineering, and maths), but it has moved to Steam (adding the arts), because of the art of creativity to the technology and the sciences. The people who can think differently, with different personalities, who can lead teams — the soft skills will be really important in the future.”
Looking at the jobs of the future, nobody can quite say what they are going to be but a few of the traditional roles will stand the test of time, according to Ms Lynch.
Two that are quite safe are plumbers and electricians. That is because every building is different. One of our bigger areas we recruit is is construction and property
"Post-2008, that whole industry fell apart and we lost a lot of skills globally, as well as those transitioning from engineers to the IT world. Many will probably never come back to the construction world. Added to that, during that time, nobody went into those courses in college. We along with Engineers Ireland and other bodies highlighted that once the economy picks up again, we’re going to have a shortage.”
That means changing perceptions about the so-called traditional trades and others. “Third level isn’t for everybody. Some people are very eager to get out to work — it’s how you trained to be an accountant previously. You learned by doing in practice. That’s quite a big avenue in Germany — they are quite strong on trades.
“University or third level colleges are one thing but people can also train in a lot of professions in an apprenticeship scheme. That is beginning to happen here, which is great.
“The biggest influence is parents — statistically, a mother is the biggest influencer in what careers a child will choose. The parent is quite influential. We need not just bring parents on board, but also schools,” she says.
In the as yet male-dominated technology world, women will be increasingly important in leadership jobs in the future.
It will be about recruiting smartly, according to Ms Lynch.
We have found women are programmed if we cannot do 80% of what the job spec says, we will probably not apply. A man, if he can do 40% to 50%, will probably apply. There are also male words and female words in ads. We recommend to our clients to review their ads and ask if they are speaking with a male language that might turn a woman off
“We would challenge our clients to see if they really need that competency in their ad to do the job?
Or is it something you can train?
We talk a lot about ‘hire the attitude and train the skill’. We’re all part of this picture. Clients are going around with attribute wishlists and unconsciously could be excluding some very good people.”
Ms Lynch notes that gender balance in recruitment has been on the agenda for some time.
“You have organisations like the 30% Club trying to progress it, and the public sector has been focused on it for a good while. We need to support women to put themselves forward. When women do put themselves forward, they do very well and earn that promotion, and contribute much added-value to boards. There is compelling evidence that women do very well compared to their male counterparts.”
She says men and women are different but the differences are beneficial when they work together.
“Balance is good, we need to accept that. Diversity at all areas, disability, multicultural, LGBT — that is what affects share price.
“Diversity and inclusion are what impresses investors now. They know diverse organisations will be more successful and that is whey they are putting their money there,” Ms Lynch says.