Job security, salary and benefits, regular hours and a sensible work-life balance are what most jobseekers look for in any new employment opportunity. Working at a start-up firm can throw these factors into uncertainty - it’s not all bean bags and avocado toast. However, with Ireland recently being ranked number three in Europe for start-ups, have you considered the possibility that the excitement, reward potential and personal development that are intrinsic to start-up culture could be exactly what you’re looking for? Here are some pros and cons of working for a start-up company to shed some light on the reality of the situation. THE PROS Room for Growth The clue is in the name, but start-ups really are just starting out. That means that, as an early employee, you will be a key part of the company’s development and later success. You’ll be working side by side with the founders from the get-go, learning directly from your bosses and gaining invaluable experience in areas outside of your job remit. As everyone at a start-up is involved in the fight for the survival of the company, you’ll often be expected to take on responsibilities that push you out of your comfort zone and force you to expand your skill set fairly rapidly. As the company grows, so will your responsibilities, and soon you could find yourself in a senior leadership position at a successful firm. Freedom ‘Freedom’ is evident in two ways in start-up culture. Firstly, in the flexibility of working hours: employees are frequently permitted to choose their own working hours and to work from home, since so much business is conducted over the phone and online. Secondly, start-ups are associated with huge levels of innovative freedom. Start-ups are under huge amounts of pressure to keep up in the fast lane or fail, and so grant their employees a considerable creative license to break boundaries and completely reimagine ways to capture consumer engagement. If dynamic, forward thinking in a collaborative, close-knit team is your forte, working in a start-up could be the ideal working environment for you! Purpose When you join a start-up, you know that you will never be simply a ‘cog in a machine.’ As part of a small team driven by collaboration, the company’s mission will be at the forefront of your job description and decision-making process. In a regular office environment, middle management and sheer size of personnel can mean you often feel undervalued and perhaps unconnected with the bigger picture of what the company is trying to achieve. There’s no such issue in start-ups! In an intense, focused environment, you will see the impact of your work first hand and have a significant role in shaping the success of the company, giving you a sense of job satisfaction unlike much other. THE CONS You will Work…Hard More responsibility means a heavier workload and while, in the long term, you may walk away with dozens of great new skills, learning on the job while likely being a single-person department is a tough undertaking. You might find yourself working long hours for little compensation, with only yours and your colleagues’ faith in the company’s mission to keep the candle burning. Work-life balance would likely be called into the mix (what balance?) as you are compelled to take your work home with you – who else will do what needs to be done? Lack of Security Harvard Business School estimates the start-up failure rate to be an enormous 90-95%. That’s an incredible (and terrifying) statistic. Tech start-ups are at particularly high risk, as there’s always the chance that a competitor could sweep the market with a brand-new development, cutting the legs from under competing companies. Leaving a comfortable corporate job with a steady salary, dependable benefits and little risk of redundancy in exchange for a high-risk, unstable work environment that could go bust at any moment is not a gamble one should take lightly. Furthermore, while start-up founders may be excellent pitchers and have garnered piles of seed money from investors, that is no evidence of their leadership ability. With less rigid corporate structure and more direct interaction with the company bosses, you could find yourself working in close proximity to underqualified leaders that will not inspire you to commit wholeheartedly to a venture which requires your unadulterated passion to succeed. Not Much Financial Reward To begin with, at least. Start-up employees notoriously earn significantly reduced salaries until the company begins to achieve real success. After all, it is in investors’ interests not to allow their ventures’ employees to get too comfortable. Spurring your team on with the promise of eventual riches is intended to be a large motivator for hard work and innovation within the company, although you may never end up reaping these promised benefits if the start-up crashes out, like so many do. That being said, modern-age start-ups are ridiculed and envied in equal measure for providing their employees with perks such as free lunches (kombucha, anyone?) and wellbeing sessions. For example, personal finance company Credit Karma offers an on-site spa for employees, as well as nap nooks and music jam rooms, and Airbnb gives their employees a $2,000 stipend for annual holiday expenses. There you have it – the good and the bad about working in a start-up. The stakes are high but, if you make your move wisely, the rewards could well outweigh the struggle you experience at the start. In an exclusive interview with David Dempsey, Senior Vice President of Salesforce, he told us that leaving his job in a well-known tech company was ‘the biggest risk’ he’s ever taken, leaving his stable job for a three-man start-up in 2000. Now, Salesforce employs thousands of people across Europe and America and is one of the world’s most renowned SaaS companies. It just goes to show – taking a plunge and embracing start-up culture could be your ticket to success too.
You’ve found the job of your dreams at an incredible company. You scroll through the job description, nodding confidently as you realise that they must have written this position for you. There’s no other explanation as to why it suits you so perfectly. Until… You gulp. They want experience – two whole years of it. And certification in a bunch of fields you’ve never been an expert in. You’ve only just graduated, or you’re looking for a career change. How are you supposed to have all this professional experience? Despite this minor setback, you know you could ace this position, if only they’d give you a chance. But how do you convey your competence on paper, let alone in an interview? How do you convince the hiring manager that you are worthy of consideration for a job you seem underqualified for? Here are a few steps you can take to position your candidacy as competitive in a scenario where you might be the underdog. Step One: Is this role really for you? The first question you must ask yourself is if the role is really, truly appropriate for you. Concluding that it is not will save you a lot of time, energy and potential disappointment in the future. However, if you genuinely believe that you could succeed in this position and will not be satisfied unless you give the application process a shot, then absolutely go for it. It’s acceptable to take the years of experience companies require with a pinch of salt, although you should consider them to be a guide. If you’re looking for an entry-level position, ‘2+ years of experience’ is a more surmountable barrier than ‘10+ years of experience.’ We’ll get into this more later, but take some time to reflect on non-professional experiences you have that could feasibly count towards the 2+ years this company is looking for. If you have proven interest and experience at university or transferrable skills in a related area, you can definitely use these to strengthen the credibility of your application. Furthermore, a company looking for candidates with an MBA may consider a candidate with a Bachelors if they can demonstrate their exceptionalism in other ways. If the role requires a specific qualification that you do not have, this could also be a potential immediate disqualifier. If you’re repeatedly seeing jobs advertised that look right for you but all require a certification in Google Analytics, perhaps consider going on a course to fill your knowledge gap. Sites that offer great online learning and development opportunities for a range of prices include Coursera, Khan Academy and Codecademy. Step Two: Research, research, research So, you’ve taken the plunge and you’re going to apply to a job you think you’re underqualified for. Now you need to ensure you understand the job as well as anyone with years of experience in that role would. You can do this through reading online, but the most effective way to gain understanding of a profession is to speak to someone who works in that field. Mobilise your contact base and set up coffee or informational interviews with people who can help you understand the specifics of the job you’re pitching yourself as the perfect fit for. Networking could also be a great way to secure an introduction to the company before you even apply, flagging your name with them. You never know who has a connection at the company of your dreams, so be sure to reach out far and wide. It’s no secret that personal referrals make all the difference when applying for a job. Step Three: Put it all down on paper The only way you’re going to be able to compete against more experienced candidates is by doing significantly more homework than they do. You’ve already (hopefully) researched the company to within an inch of its life – now ensure that your passion for their brand/product/service shines through in your covering letter. Demonstrate your knowledge about the business by making specific references in your explanation as to why you want the role – this can definitely help assuage any doubts they have about your experience level. Employers will often take unpaid experiences as evidence of professional experience, such as internships, involvement in clubs and societies and volunteering. Be sure to examine all of your achievements through the lens of what they could bring to the role, as you may be pleasantly surprised to find you already possess proven experience in areas you thought you lacked, simply because these activities took place in your free time or holidays. Combine your transferrable skills with your qualifications to highlight your suitability for the role. Skills to highlight might be: Event planning People skills Leadership Marketing Fundraising Creativity Organisation You’ve spent time thinking about how great that role would be great for you – perhaps also consider why you would be great for the role. What interesting insight could you bring to the company? Do you have a unique perspective or angle that would add value to the team? Make your individuality shine throughout your CV and cover letter. Step Four: Nail the interview Congratulations! Your gorgeously tailored CV and rivetingly specific cover letter have landed you an interview with the hiring manager. They’re interested in you, despite the fact you may not be a conventional candidate for the position. They’re willing to take a chance on you…for now. So how do you continue to exude confidence and experience in a face-to-face interaction with a company representative? Firstly, and hopefully obviously, prepare. You’re entering the room with the disadvantage of not being able to rely on personal experience of the role to support your answers. Therefore, you’ll need to consolidate your knowledge of the company and job description, as well as how your own experiences tie into what they’re looking for. Practise answers to the guaranteed interview questions you’ll likely face and be ready to defend your lack of qualification for the role, if needed. Remember to never phrase a response as a negative – always focus on the positive. For example, never begin an answer with “I know I lack experience in X, but…” or “I know I don’t have Y qualification, but…”. Instead, you should highlight your abilities and apply them to the task in question. “My tenure as the chairperson of my college’s Business and Enterprise Society enabled me to practise my leadership and project management skills in a way which is applicable to Z task in these ways…” for instance. While it’s important to bend the truth to your advantage, you must never lie. The interviewer may then push you on it and you could slip up under pressure. No employer wants to hire a dishonest worker, and such a mistake may result in your name being blacklisted for future opportunities. Furthermore, if a lie got you into the job and then you found you were unable to complete the tasks assigned to you as a result, you could lose your job and evoke serious bad feeling from a company you may have to encounter again in the future. Honesty is the best policy – just be shrewd in how you phrase your answers. To conclude, you are likely more qualified than you think for the job of your dreams. All it takes is a little bit of research, tailoring and careful phrasing to upgrade your position from that of an outsider to a competitive candidate. Even if you don’t land the role using these steps, you will have learned a huge amount about an area you previously may not have been overly familiar with. Your research will certainly be applicable to future job applications and may even inspire you to pursue a line of work you had previously not considered. You’ve got nothing to lose – what are you waiting for?
Thoughts on the Market Ireland has a long tradition of attracting manufacturing facilities from major life sciences companies and the life sciences sector in Ireland has continued to grow strongly in the last decade. There are now over 60,000 people employed in the industry, either directly or indirectly. This trend looks set to continue into 2018 with major expansions of many of the big pharma players across the country. The IDA reports the biopharmaceutical industry has made a capital investment of approximately €8 billion in new facilities in Ireland, predominantly in the last 10 years. This represents one of the largest investments in new biotech facilities anywhere in the world. Out of the world’s twenty-five largest independent, public biotech and pharma companies, Ireland is home to twenty-four of them. However recent figures put the number of pharmaceutical companies operating here at approximately seventy-five. While many of the large companies are major sources of employment here, new smaller start-up companies are also seeking out Ireland as a new home which is exciting in terms of R&D. The growth of the biologics and biopharma industry in Ireland reflects current global trends. According to The Irish Times, sales of biologics products look set to grow by 10% in the next eight years. Given anticipated expansion and growth of new sites here in Ireland, it is estimated that there will be almost 8,500 potential job openings arising within the biopharma industry in Ireland over the next five years. These investments promise the life sciences sector in Ireland will continue to thrive, with strong pharmaceutical hubs based in Dublin and Cork, and rapidly developing areas in Sligo, Waterford and Mayo. The future career opportunities for the scientific workforce is looking very strong for 2018 and beyond. Salaries As further investment continues within Ireland the salaries and remuneration packages are going to increase. With the candidate market so strong and increasing demand for even junior positions, this is driving up already inflationary wage rates across the country as companies try to keep staff. Companies are also implementing various initiatives including flexible work hours, remote working and more to improve their employer brand and ensure they stay ahead of the competition. Top Tip for 2019 Make the most of your network and get involved with as many work-related projects possible to improve your skill set. Contract or short-term placements, in the fields you’d like to work in, can be a great way to break into the relevant sector e.g. move from QC to QA. Looking for a science job? Check out our latest jobs here
Thoughts on the Market 2018 saw the office support market grow rapidly. As new companies began to prosper, and established organisations continued to expand, so too did the requirements to support those within – whether it was basic admin staff or senior administrative assistants. 2018 also saw an increase in industry specific positions with 40% of companies seeking candidates that come from their respective field. Due to rapid expansion of the market, companies are scrambling for candidates that can hit the ground running with an understanding of technical lingo. Positions predicted to be most in demand for 2019 are team administrative support or team administration coordinator position roles. These roles see candidates supporting a manager/director, but also their entire team with core PA and admin tasks. These roles are also becoming more tech savvy with the growth of new technologies such as diary, flight and hotel booking apps. Candidates experienced with up to date apps will be highly sought after and can demand salaries upwards of €45k. The temporary market saw an uplift of 15% in 2018 a trend which we are predicting will continue in 2019. Short term temp administrators along with longer term temp receptionists are the two areas with the most demand. Salaries In 2019 We have seen salary increases on the junior end of office support roles. While some companies can choose to pay below market rate, they are beginning to realise that they will not attract suitable talent in this candidate-driven market. Throughout 2018, we have seen an increase in the prevalence of counter offers for candidates and at times companies being drawn into bidding wars. As the market continues to tighten up, we unfortunately expect this trend to continue in 2019. In response to this, companies need to bear in mind candidates expectations of the job and ensure they are selling the benefits of their organisation during the interview. Simple things such as introducing a potential candidate to the team to add a personal touch can really make the difference between a candidate accepting a role or going with another competitor. An interesting development to note is the upwards trend of benefit packages, opposed to candidates simply seeking higher salaries. Work life balance appears to be top of the list as candidates have listed flexi-time working options and increased annual leave as their most sought-after benefits. Top Tips for 2019 Putting real thought and time in to your CV layout and content is crucial. Competition for top roles is high so spending time tailoring your CV for each application you are making is time well spent. The best CVs show demonstrated relevant examples of your skill set/experience in clear bullet points. Ensure technical skills are broken down to show your abilities. Also, be careful of using generic words, show your technical skillset off. If you are in between jobs, keep your skills up to date by filling in any unemployment periods with temping or volunteering. Unexplained gaps on your CV can raise a few red flags. Show up! We have noticed a trend of interviews not being rescheduled when cancelled by the candidate. This is not always the case but it’s certainly a tip to bear in mind when you are actively looking for a new role. Looking for an office support job? Check out our latest jobs here
Thoughts on the Market The competition for multilingual talent is higher than ever. As per previous years German, Dutch and the Nordic languages are the highest in demand. However, in 2018 we have seen companies avoiding competing for candidates based in Ireland by sourcing from mainland Europe and increasingly by setting up local offices to hire for senior local talent in-country. The pace of change in technology has led to a demand for more experienced candidates, where before entry-level roles required candidates merely to be fluent in a language(s). Now companies are requiring candidates to have experience, either practically or academically, in the industry or technology they are dealing with. Salaries In 2019 We expect some companies will increase their salaries in 2019 as the demand for talent is outstripping supply in some areas. However, we have noticed a trend of candidates seeking extra benefits and flexible working hours in place of increased remuneration. Companies, especially those struggling to source talent, seem to be responding to this by broadening their benefits packages. Top Tip for 2019 If you are working within a customer service role or a position where you are looking to progress, try and specifically talk about any targets or deadlines you have had to work to. Most clients are looking to develop candidates into a variety of positions if they have worked within a target based position. Looking for a multilingual job? Check out our latest jobs here
Thoughts on the Market The majority of industry sectors experienced growth throughout 2018 boosting the availability of jobs. Niche sectors such as social media have continued to experience meteoric growth as companies seek to exploit the many opportunities that social media presents. However, as companies scramble to catch up with the ever-changing social media landscape, quality, engaging and relevant content has become central to companies’ strategies with influencer marketing content topping the pile. This has led to greater demand for content marketing specialists, SEO specialists, data analysts, digital marketing managers and eCommerce specialists. As usage and penetration rates of social media show no signs of slowing, we expect this trend to continue into 2019. There appears to be disparity between the supply and demand of suitable talent in many sub sectors resulting in companies selling themselves in more unique and creative ways. Aspects such as company culture and benefits packages are being advertised in a bid to attract top talent. Demand for candidates with experience in the professional services sector in particular communication and demand generation specialists grew in 2018 and we foresee this to continue to grow in 2019. Salaries In 2019 It’s a common enough phenomenon - an increase in activity in a specialised jobs market leads to competition for talent and the economic factors of supply and demand kick into play. This quarter alone we have seen a number of senior positions in performance marketing, ecommerce and insights where the hiring manager states that unless the candidates come from named competitors they will not be considered for the role as they believe they will not have the correct skillset. For these lucky candidates salaries can be negotiated upwards. In general marketing salaries remained constant for 2018 and we predict slight increases of approximately 5% across the board in 2019. Top Tip for 2019 Experience in video marketing strategies will be key in 2019. As companies begin to augment their content strategies to engage their online audience, we predict video to be a core aspect of this. Looking for a marketing job? Check out our latest jobs here
Thoughts On The Market The overall trend is an increase in opportunities across a number of core industries such as technology, construction and engineering sales. With almost every company recruiting in each of these sectors looking for the same profile as their competition, it creates a massive demand for candidates who fulfil these criteria. Those with 1-3 years’ consecutive sales experience are in constant demand and getting snapped up swiftly by hungry employers keen to add to their ranks. The overall trend is for this to continue which will put pressure on salaries as companies seek to outbid each other for the hottest talent. Salaries In 2019 Basic salaries are facing more and more scrutiny as living costs consistently increase. Whether the person is renting, looking for a mortgage or has a family, the priority is what they will consistently get in their fixed income. Base salaries have increased year on year in part due to the lucrative nature of the tech industry, but many companies simply cannot afford to match these salaries. For companies limited in this regard, look at ways you can reduce the individual’s cost base – offering health insurance, TaxSaver for commuters and so on. Small benefits like this do add up and contribute to reducing a candidate’s net outgoings which in turn may lure talent your way. Top Tip for 2019 Companies want to feel like you want to work for them. In a market where candidates have multiple options available to them, what can often be lost is demonstrating you have researched the company and actually want to work for them. Show a prospective employer why you want to work for the company and what aspects of the role interest you. By doing this, you stand a much better chance of getting over the line! Looking for a sales job? Check out our latest jobs here
Thoughts on the Market As Brexit approaches the supply chain and logistics market industry in Ireland has undergone significant self-assessment. Traditional methods and practices have had to be examined, and from a creative thinking point of view this is advantageous. Companies have had to examine why they do things and not just accept “the way we have always done it”. As a result, companies have already made changes regarding sourcing, costing and transportation that will benefit them even if the status quo remains. In addition, companies are looking to become more cost effective and have invested heavily in many supply chain management (SCM) solutions and warehouse management solutions (WMS) to further increase efficiencies. Ultimately there is still a lot of uncertainty in the sector given the various ramifications of possible Brexit outcomes. What is certain however is that the practices of previous years will be gone by the end of 2019 and that new creative ways of business will prevail. Salaries In 2019 While there was no significant rise in salaries in 2018, it remains to be seen how Brexit will affect salaires across the sector in 2019. Top Tip for 2019 Think creatively! 2019 will be a watershed in the supply chain and logistics sector. Previously successful methodologies will no longer be guaranteed to work; upskill, think creatively and learn continuously. Looking for a supply chain job? Check out our latest jobs here
The market is strengthening rapidly, with the likes of junior HR roles and recruitment roles leading the way, but other senior and specialist roles are not far behind. Throughout 2018, we saw companies beginning to invest more in their employees as they struggle to attract and retain talent. This in turn has created more HR positions in the areas of L&D, reward, and employee engagement. We forsee this trend continuing throughout 2019 as the fight for talent intensifies. Furthermore, there has been a sizeable increase in the number of companies hiring recruiters. This is a trend mirrored throughout Ireland and we expect a notable increase in the number of recruitment vacancies in 2019. Specifically, HR professionals with strong operational/ER experience in the manufacturing sector will see more opportunities in 2019. Salaries in 2019 There has been a marked increase in salaries, especially for more junior roles, where competition for talent is fierce. Companies are broadening their overall packages, not just with the traditional offerings such as healthcare/pension/bonus, but with more bespoke perks such as flexible/remote working, wellness initiatives, CSR initiatives, etc. This trend will have to continue into 2019 as companies vie for the strongest candidates. Top Tip for 2019 Don’t be afraid of temp contracts! You will appear more attractive to potential hiring managers as you have decided to take up a temp contract while in between jobs. This shows that you are eager to work, will potentially be broadening your skillset, and that you are proactive in your approach. It’s also a great way to increase your network. Looking for a HR job? Check out our latest jobs here