Cork is attracting the best and brightest in tech talent to its doorstep
Alexandra Varlot, French account manager at Voxpro. Image: Collins McNicholas

Cork is attracting the best and brightest in tech talent to its doorstep

14 Dec 2017

Amid mounting fears of a massive impending dearth of tech talent in Ireland, how is Cork enticing tech workers?

In Ireland, whispers of a tech talent shortage have begun to reach fever pitch, and people are wondering how best to nip the issue in the bud to prevent it from ballooning to the point of genuinely impeding the sector’s progress on our shores.

Amid all this, Cork has been quietly chugging away, carving out a coveted spot as one of Ireland’s most vibrant tech hubs. Its digital economy has great potential and it has seen multiple impressive jobs announcements in recent months.

The Cork Tech Talent Relocation Survey, a project undertaken by recruitment and HR services group Collins McNicholas, in conjunction with Cork Chamber, IDA Ireland and Cork City Council, set out to examine case studies of those who have relocated to Cork to take up some of the ample opportunities there. It found that many were happy to sing the praises of the county.

Alexandra Varlot, a French account manager at Voxpro – powered by Telus International, spent two years globetrotting in Africa, Asia, Australia and North America before settling in Cork in 2016 to take up her position at the global provider of multilingual customer service. Her travels were enjoyable, but Cork ultimately stole Varlot’s heart.

“It was nice to travel but, after a while, I ran out of money and wanted to work in a big company again with lots of people from all over the world.

“Voxpro hires people from everywhere, so I still feel like I’m exploring different cultures, even though I’m in one place.

“I live in Mahon and my commute to work is much nicer now than in the past, and shorter, too. It’s a five-minute cycle along the lake and it’s a beautiful way to start the day with the pink and orange sunrise reflecting on the lake.”

In the case of Ed Tan, who works in group marketing and sales at Tria Oil Group in West Cork, he was working at a tech multinational in his hometown of San Francisco but his partner, from Co Wicklow, wanted to return to Ireland.

“We settled in beautiful Caheragh in West Cork. One requirement we had before settling was good internet.

“It helps that we are located close to Skibbereen, Ireland’s first ‘Gigabit Town’. We couldn’t live in a nicer location – 10 minutes to both Skibbereen and Bantry, and Cork city is an hour away.

“It has been pure luck to find a job so close to home. I used to commute one hour each way in San Francisco, and now I am five minutes from home to office.”

Abhay Aiya, an IT business analyst at Logitech’s office in Cork, is originally from India. “I was working in Dublin for almost two years and I loved it here. So, when that contract ended, I started applying for jobs in Ireland.

“I got the job with Logitech and here I am, where I wanted to be. There was not just one thing that attracted me to Ireland; there was the work culture, the friendly people and the fact that you are close to a lot of places for travelling.

“The position at Logitech stood out because the company and its culture really appealed to me, as did the job spec and the potential to progress within the company.”

In the survey, 122 respondents across multiple sectors had made the move to Cork. Around 85pc reported feeling either satisfied or very satisfied with the move, while 64pc said they had experienced an increase in salary upon moving.

IDA’s regional manager for the south-west, Ray O’Connor, commented on what it is that gives Cork such magnetism for global tech talent.

“Over the last seven years, Cork has seen consistent growth in the numbers gaining employment across international companies – an increase of 11,500 people since 2009.

“A university city with over 30,000 full- and part-time students across several colleges; strong established industry clusters; an expanding international airport on its doorstep; a cosmopolitan city with a rich mix of different nationalities; a rich heritage and history; and a great quality of life – these are some of the factors that have attracted both international companies and people with skills and talent to the area.”

As we enter the new year, it may be worth keeping an eye on Cork, as these testimonies would indicate that it can expect some solid, continued growth.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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