Despite the recent job losses in the tech sector and high inflation this past year, unemployment rates remain at a 20-year record low.
However, job creation has slowed, and acquiring (and more importantly) retaining talent is still a concern for over half of Irish firms, according to (IBEC).
Meanwhile, at SIRO, we have found alternative sources for recruiting to be a rewarding, and insightful experience that other recruiters could adopt. Through partnerships with organisations like Pathways to Progress, Digital Skillnet and WALK we have been able to recruit for roles that in the past, were difficult to source through typical channels.
Recruiting people from migrant backgrounds
SIRO partners with Pathways to Progress to recruit highly skilled people from a range of countries. Pathways to Progress not only support people from migrant backgrounds to find work, but also support the employer at all stages of the programme.
IBEC has reported that unemployment amongst Ukranians who have moved to Ireland since the Russian invasion stands at 24.5%, with English proficiency stated as a key barrier to work. 70% of Ukrainian candidates agreed that this was a barrier for them (Intreo). SIRO has found that the Pathways to Progress programme recognises these barriers and enables employer and employee to work together to overcome them.
One of the participants of the programme at SIRO shared:
“As a non-EU citizen in Ireland, I faced numerous challenges trying to find a full-time job. Working at SIRO has been a transformative experience, I’ve gained so much valuable experience and knowledge that will serve me well in my career moving forward.”
Recruiting people with disabilities
People with a disability account for over 13% of our population and in Ireland, yet they are 50% more likely to be unemployed compared to their peers without a disability. Although we have seen unemployment rates fall, employment prospectives for people with disabilities have been slow to change.
SIRO, in partnership with WALK has facilitated three programme participants to progress their career ambitions through paid employment. All three have progressed onto new opportunities in the open labour market. The inclusion and support during their time at SIRO were key to participants gaining valuable experience of being in work, learning new skills, and building confidence in themselves.
The Supported Employment model enables people with disabilities to achieve sustainable long-term employment and businesses to employ valuable workers. The model has at its heart the notion that anyone can be employed if they want to work and sufficient support is provided. It is a flexible and continuous process, designed to meet individual needs.
Recruiting returners to work
The Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet Women Reboot programme supports women with tech sector skills and experience to return to work after a career break.
This is a hugely valuable stream to gain access to female candidates looking to integrate back into a still predominantly male dominated sector. According to data published by the CSO, less than one third (32%) of Ireland’s IT workers are female.
Engaging with this programme was a natural fit for SIRO, as it aligns with our values and wider sustainability strategy to increase gender representation across the organisation.
Feedback received from returners demonstrates how they can build confidence while adding value through the work they are doing.
“Companies like SIRO are very forward thinking by participating in the Women Reboot programme as it taps into a huge pool of talent that would be wasted otherwise.”
Apprenticeship programmes at SIRO
SIRO also offers Apprenticeship Programmes within our Build and Finance Departments; combining on the job work-based learning and classroom-based learning, in a college or training institution. It enables employers to recruit and upskill employees cost-effectively while giving school leavers and mature learners an alternative path to employment.
Education and awareness
At SIRO, we provide unconscious bias and disability awareness training across the organisation, most recently in partnership with Employers for Change. This fosters an understanding and appreciation of different backgrounds, cultures and disabilities and enables employees to develop the skills to work effectively within diverse teams.
Recruitment and integration
During recruitment, it’s crucial to make reasonable accommodations where necessary. Putting inclusive values into practice can mean making small changes to ensure accessible and fair recruitment processes. This could include giving candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and experience outside of the typical interview structure, or site visits prior to interviews.
Pathways to Progress have an inclusive recruitment toolkit, providing practical and actionable ways to implement inclusive practices around recruitment.
SIRO engages with candidates and various organisations on an ongoing basis to tailor supports once candidates are onboarded, whether that be access to English courses or subscriptions to online language software.
To conclude, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure you get the process right. For example:
- Maintain a regular feedback loop – The best way to do this is by actively seeking feedback from both the candidates that have come through the programmes, as well as their line managers and teams they work with.
- Be authentic and transparent – You might not always get it right, but as long as you are learning and you have the right intentions, you can build on these foundations.
- Find the right partners – The support from organisations, (in our experience Employers for Change, WALK, Pathways to Progress, Women Reboot and IBEC) helps support the employer and employee in the full employment life cycle.
To learn more about our sustainability efforts or any of our current job opportunities, read more here