US companies in Ireland have more than 2,000 vacancies, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland’s annual Workforce Activation Survey published today.
Some 90pc of the 109 companies that responded to the survey are recruiting to fill current vacancies.
According to the American Chamber of Commerce, many of the 2,000 vacancies provide opportunities for new graduates from Irish universities. In 2010, survey respondents hired more than 800 graduates. In 2011, hiring intentions of member companies for graduates increased by 21pc to 986 new hires.
Gerard Kilcommins, president of the chamber and vice-president of global operations for Medtronic’s vascular businesses, said the survey pointed to the fact the multinational sector in Ireland remains strong and continues to provide excellent employment opportunities for suitably qualified candidates.
This week, the US Department of Commerce in Washington published figures showing that US companies in Ireland now have a total stock of investment of US$190bn. This, Kilcommins revealed, is “five per cent of all US foreign direct investment worldwide, and more than that in the BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined”.
Kilcommins said, however, it is vital that “any planned or proposed changes to Ireland’s employment legislation does not impact on our reputation for flexibility in our labour force”.
He said the imminent transposition of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (TAWD) into Irish law would have a significant impact on multinational employers, many of whom rely on agency workers for much-needed flexibility within their organisations.
“The directive needs to be transposed in such a way that agency workers are neither priced out of the market or do not require a level of administration or bureaucracy which would make their engagement unattractive or unworkable,” he said.
“Flexibility is hugely important, as well. American firms in Ireland are exceptionally good employers and we are enormously proud of our track record in that regard.
“There have been calls for reform in the area of collective bargaining,” he continued. “Any move away from the voluntary model of industrial relations, which has existed in Ireland since the foundation of the State, would undermine what continues to be one of the cornerstones of our successful transformation into a modern, knowledge-based economy in recent years.”
Kilcommins said any dilution of the current voluntary model would create a barrier to job creation and could damage Ireland’s capacity to attract and retain inward investment.
He also said skills gaps are starting to emerge, particularly in science and technology, and this needs to be addressed urgently to protect existing and future investments. “Education is the key to closing the skills gap. The rewards for investment in skills and education are great and the penalties for failure are severe,” he said.
“Ireland remains a very good place to do business but competition from countries throughout Europe and Asia is intensifying. We cannot afford to stand still; we all share a responsibility for striving to make Ireland an even better place to do business and we owe it to ourselves and those coming after us to get the message out there that this country’s flexible, enterprise and investment-friendly environment is a reality, not a slogan.”
Photo: Gerard Kilcommins, president of the American Chamber of Commerce
Article courtesy of Businessandleadership.com