Multilingual Recruitment in Ireland


Despite being in recession, Ireland is becoming an increasingly popular and attractive country for multinational companies to set up in.

According to a recent Irish Times article from November 2012, Irish Employer’s Group IBEC states that the Irish employment market is stabilising, and employment should not fall further after this year. 

In this article, according to an IBEC employee index, while around 55% of firms planned no change in staff numbers in the 4th quarter of 2012, almost a 5th of companies planned on taking on new staff. In the first 10 months of 2012, 20,000 jobs were announced and more than a third of these were created at companies supported by foreign direct investment agency IDA Ireland.  According to IBEC, it is the export-oriented sectors in the  Irish labour market where jobs are being created. It is these areas where companies require highly skilled and often multilingual employees.

Yesterday’s article in the Irish Independent shows also that in 2012 job losses were at a decade low among multinational IDA firms, and 6,570 positions were created last year. Some of the biggest investments in 2012 came from multinational companies such as Apple, PayPal, Northern Trust, EA Games, Fidelity, SAP, Mylan, Cisco, Arvato, and Eli Lilly.

It’s great to see this upward curve in job creation and an increased presence of multinational companies choosing  to base themselves in Ireland. 

At DCU Language Services we provide a pre-employment screening language assessment service for recruiters, and the customers who avail of this service range from Irish export companies, recruitment firms, to larger multinational companies and across various sectors – finance, sciences, pharmaceutical, ecommerce, IT and professional services. As a result of this we can sometimes see first-hand some trends in multilingual recruitment in Ireland, so we thought it would be interesting to take a look at language assessments carried out in the past year to get insight into the languages that some companies  are working with and employing people for.

The graph below shows an analysis of the main languages requested for pre-employment langauge tests in 2012 between three of our customers.

So what does this tell us?

  • Over the course of 2012 just over 4,000 language assessments were carried out for potential employees.
  • The top 6 languages requested for testing by companies were English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.  People being tested for English language skills mostly would be non-native speakers of English.
  • After this, the combination of languages tested and in this order was Russian, Hebrew, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish and Polish.
  • A smaller portion of ‘other’ languages tested included Arabic, Portuguese, Cantonese, Serbian, Mandarin, Slovak and Romanian.

This gives an additional insight into why these companies are choosing to invest in Ireland – by setting up in Ireland these companies can avail of a skilled and multilingual workforce, they are close to mainland Europe and they can still do business in export markets in Europe and further afield.

It also tells us that, thankfully, employment in Ireland is on-going and hopefully if we conduct a similar analysis further into 2013 we’ll see a further increase in multilingual employment in Ireland.

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