HUNDREDS of people attended a recent jobs fair at the Ennis Digital Hub on the Quin Road in Ennis, while almost 30 employers and recruiters participated.
The event was planned by five local organisations who saw the desirability of such an event for both employers and job seekers; Clare Local Development Company, Grow Remote,
EmployAbility Clare, Digiclare, and the Department of Social Protection.
Paul Ellingstad is Ennis area Community Co-ordinator for Grow Remote, an organisation which seeks to make remote working more accessible, and he said the day had been a great success.
“We were really pleasantly surprised. We had been hearing anecdotally, both from job seekers and employers, that they’d like something, so these five organisations got together and said let’s do it.
“We had almost 400 people registered on Eventbrite and we figured on the day there were definitely over 300 people and 28 employers and recruiters, so it was a fantastic turnout all round.”
He said there are many people who want to change their working practices and many employers are still struggling to fill vacancies.
“There are a lot of people in the county, maybe in the hospitality sector, who are working over the summer and maybe a bit into the autumn, and then aren’t over the winter months.
“They’re really interested in getting part time or temporary work. Talking to the employers, they’re having real difficulty in finding people.”
Paul said that they had been conscious of appealing to people who may not easily be reached by those with vacancies to fill.
“One angle on that which we thought was important, and why we got the colleagues that we did to help organise it, such as Employability Clare and Clare Local Development Company, was to give some focus to the non-traditional job seekers.
“Not only the Ukrainian refugees who are able to work and are very interested and talented, but also with Employability Clare there are a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily be able to do a traditional 9-5 five days a week in an office, but with remote and hybrid work opens up opportunities for a lot of those individuals that they wouldn’t have had before. It kind of spreads the pool of talent for the employers as well.”
Paul says that while remote work has increasingly become an option, there are still thousands of remote jobs unfilled in multiple sectors.
“Increasingly the jobs are across the board. Pre pandemic it might have been technical support, customer support or telemarketing.
“Now we’ve got everything; traditional marketing, sales, back office, HR, accounting, finance, just a whole range of different jobs. What we were advertising during the Jobs Fair for GrowRemote was that big companies who didn’t come physically on the day, the likes of Shopify and Salesforce, we estimate there are around 20,000 more jobs that we have sight of and can make visible to job seekers in Clare.”
While economic problems have emerged, people now realise they have new options, Paul added, “On one hand we have people anxious about recession and the energy crisis and everything else, but one of the bright sides coming out of the pandemic is that with more flexibility around remote work, people are saying they can do more jobs than were available before. People are looking for not just higher pay, but companies they want to work for and that they respect, and that offer opportunities to grow as well.”
He says the organisers may hold another similar event in the coming months, while he urged anyone who couldn’t attend but is interested in a new job to get in touch. “We are really conscious that even with 300 people coming on the day, there were a lot of people who weren’t able to attend. We’d encourage people to reach out to any of the organisations involved, or the employers.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.