Friends cook up scheme to encourage creation of 5,000 jobs at kitchen table

 

A CHAT between friends around the kitchen table has resulted in a jobs initiative called Hireland.

It aims to encourage the creation of 5,000 jobs in the first half of this year by encouraging small and medium-sized firms to pledge jobs on the hireland.ie website.

Hireland co-founder Lucy Masterson said she believed the public pledging of jobs would stimulate job creation.

"It's about a positive, confident movement, where one job will lead to another if Irish businesses get on board and pledge a job," she said.

Hireland will then follow up the pledges to see if the jobs were offered and the positions filled as promised.

Ms Masterson said the target of 5,000 jobs in six months was "absolutely achievable", given that there are more than 150,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in the State.

The idea for the project came last year after she heard that her son's music teacher was emigrating. She was sitting with her husband and friends at the kitchen table discussing the loss of so many young people to emigration when they decided to act.

A plan for Hireland emerged and Ms Masterson, a lecturer in social and not-for-profit marketing, took the idea to her students in Champlain College, a Dublin hub of a Vermont college.

They set up a Facebook page and word spread to students from Dublin Institute of Technology, who got involved.

Ms Masterson and her co-founders, who have backgrounds in business and marketing, used their own money to register the domain name and the company.

All other services, such as setting up the website and a television, radio and outdoor advertising campaign, were provided free of charge by companies and individuals. Hireland estimates that the

media industry has provided €500,000 worth of free advertising to the campaign.

"This is all voluntary," Ms Masterson said. "There's just a bunch of regular Joe Soaps behind it. Hopefully it's going to snowball."

To support the venture, Amárach Research questioned 150 small and medium enterprises about their recruitment plans.

Some 52 per cent of companies said they planned to hire one or more new employees this year while 43 per cent were undecided about their recruitment

plans.

The survey found that half of all new jobs planned would be full-time, three in 10 would be mostly part-time and the balance would be a mixture. The research found that 42 per cent of employers planned to hire graduates while 22 per cent of employers planned to hire school-leavers.

Gerard O'Neill, Amárach Research chairman and co-founder of Hireland, said it

was clear many business owners were toying with the notion of taking on more staff but did not feel confident enough to do so.

"Hireland's message is very clear. If you're a business owner, pledge a job on www.hireland.ie. A sure way of future-proofing your business is to hire more people. By recruiting more people into the business, a company will experience immediate and direct benefits."

People involved in a similar idea in the US contacted Hireland when they heard about the plan and the Irish project is now a sister initiative of UhireUS.

This plan was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in September and aims to encourage the creation of one million jobs.


The HireIreland website is hireland.ie. See also uhireus.org