AFTER some difficult years, which saw significant job losses at Shannon, the pendulum has now swung the other way, with hundreds of vacancies in local companies.
Speaking in the Senate recently, Shannon’s Tony Mulcahy said there are now hundreds of jobs available in the town and local business figures agree that things have definitely turned after a very severe recession.
As the legislation on the independence of Shannon Airport went through the upper house, Senator Mulcahy said, “Between 600 and 800 jobs are currently being advertised on the industrial estate and I have no doubt that, in seven or eight years, there will be up to 8,000 jobs available.”
When he spoke to The Clare Champion on Tuesday, he outlined numerous companies that are now looking for new employees.
“Wipro are hiring, they’re the old Halifax and they’ll be hiring people in September. Pepper Finance are hiring. EI have been taking people on all the time and they’re one of our great local manufacturers. They’re locally owned and have come through a lot of challenges. As far as I know, Element 6 will be hiring later this year – apparently, they’ll be bringing back the diamond presses. I know Zimmer are continuously hiring and Molex are hiring at the moment,” said Senator Mulcahy.
While there may not be many new companies arriving, he says firms that have been in Shannon for years are recovering and taking on new staff. “There’s an awful lot going on. There are no new ones, these are all the old ones, solid companies that came through,” he said.
Derek Barrett of local company, Peach Recruitment said that while he couldn’t accurately quantify it, there has certainly been an improvement in the local employment situation.
“I would definitely say there’s an improvement from this time last year and things are on the up. A number of our temps that we would have had out on contract were made permanent.
“I’d be far more optimistic now than I would have been 18 months ago. You can see it with candidates who are going into places and people are getting more than one offer. Twelve months ago, people would have been anxious but now there are one or two offers on the table and they can start to really look at the role they want, rather than the first one that comes along. That’s a good thing for job-seekers,” Mr Barrett explained.
He also said that the jobs recovery has been quite broad-based, with most industries seeing an upturn. “We don’t specialise in any particular section. We deal with all of them, from aviation to financial services to production. We’re seeing an improvement in nearly all those areas. I can only support what Tony is saying but, in terms of numbers, I couldn’t quantify it but there is definitely an improvement,” he said.
He added that Element 6, which announced significant redundancies some years ago, is now set to increase the range of activity at the Shannon plant in the relatively near future.
Helen Downes is chief executive of Shannon Chamber and she agreed that things are moving in the right direction now. “We know there are companies recruiting and while we don’t have the head count of what they are planning to recruit, there seems to be a movement towards hiring different people in different sectors.”
She feels that companies in different industries are recruiting, and bringing in people with different skills. “I think it’s multiple sectors, from the medical device to manufacturing. There’s a mixture of different types of recruitment going on from engineers to people on the shop floor,” she said.
Both Ms Downes and Ms Barrett said positive news regarding Shannon Airport has helped to improve local business sentiment and confidence in recent months.
Ms Downes also said that the Chamber plan to take a survey of its members in the near future which will provide more information on how local companies are now performing and where jobs are being created.