Cork tech firms target Dublin talent

Cork-based companies could alleviate recruitment difficulties by targeting employees of some of the world’s largest tech companies, according to one business leader.

A host of multinationals operating in Dublin, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, employ thousands of highly skilled workers, some of whom could be tempted south by the dual incentive of equally high-quality jobs coupled with a different way of life.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, SolarWinds senior vice-president of finance and operations David Owens said employees who may not originally be from Dublin or those looking for a different lifestyle may be interested in a new challenge in Cork.

“We may have to try getting them out of the Googles, Facebooks, LinkedIns. They have a load of experience but maybe they’re at a stage in their life that they want to settle down and [the IDA and Cork Chamber] are building an infrastructure to bring people back,” Mr Owens said.

“During the recession a lot of people left and are now coming back in, but we do find that we’re competing with other tech companies for talent.”

Strong links with University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology have helped ensure a strong pipeline of employees for the Texas-headquartered IT management company, which has scooped a Cork Chamber award for company of the year.

Skills shortages still pose a challenge, however, particularly in terms of languages. “CIT and UCC give a huge amount of technical background. I think the language is where we’re struggling. In a way, Cork’s got a great problem in that we’ve got so many IT companies hiring such strong, highly technical people that at the moment there’s not enough of them. But I think, over time, it’s like economics: If the jobs are there people will come [from abroad],” Mr Owens said.

One of the reasons SolarWinds chose Cork as its Irish and European base in 2007 was the compact nature of the city. “[SolarWinds] wanted to locate in a city that it felt was at the beginning of building an environment for IT start-ups, they wanted a city like Austin, a young, compact, vibrant, diverse city — a city just like Cork,” Mr Owens said.

“We did not think Dublin was an option because we knew Google, Facebook, LinkedIn would simply hoover up all the talent. The size of Dublin also caused some concern. We didn’t want our employees having to submit themselves to long commutes just to get to work. The compact nature of Cork meant that our employees would have a certain quality of life.”


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