National Recruitment Federation to celebrate 50 Years at upcoming Annual Conference
The growing significance of the gig economy and a contingent workforce in supporting business competitiveness is a central theme of this year’s ERF annual conference for recruitment, HR and talent professionals, on Wednesday 19 February next, in Dublin.
Dubbed ‘the era of the contingent worker’, the coming decade will see Ireland follow the global trend towards more flexible labour markets and supply, according to Donal O’Donoghue, President of the National Recruitment Federation (ERF).
“The emergence of the independent contractor and the proliferation of agency staff, consultants and freelancers in our new just-in-time, on-demand workforce will mean a major cultural shift.”
“How employers resource staff, and how, when and where employees carry out work is changing rapidly. Therefore recruitment practice, policies and workplaces need to change accordingly”, the ERF President said at today’s conference launch.
Growing numbers of contingent workers allows industry and the public sector to adapt to market needs efficiently and cost-effectively, the recruitment professionals say. And, this evolving labour market trend is also reflected in Ireland’s latest Labour Force Survey.
The number of employees who are agency workers increased by 4.8% in Q3 2019, over the same period last year, according to the most recent labour market data from the Central Statistics Office.
So too technology roles, accountants, engineers and architects are among the professions where the number of contingent workers is rapidly growing, the ERF maintains, alongside extensive agency representation in healthcare, security, administration and the hospitality sector.
During the recession many employers and employees relied on temporary contracts, freelancing and often multiple jobs to deal with the market situation. The shift towards more self-employment and independent contracting that began then has continued to grow, Donal O’Donoghue says.
The ERF conference takes place on Wednesday 19 February next in the Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road in Dublin, with the 2020 national gathering marking the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the recruitment sector trade organisation.
The conference comes at a time when Ireland’s economic recovery has seen unemployment fall from a high of 15% to below 5%. Ireland now has record employment levels, with unemployment down to 4.8%, the lowest since January 2007.
Just 119,000 workers were classified as unemployed in December 2019, meaning Ireland is essentially at full employment, with employers struggling to fill key vacancies, Geraldine King, the ERF CEO says.
“From technology and medicine to engineering and the construction sector, a lack of available talent is threatening productivity and competitiveness, which, in turn, drives demand for contingent labour”.
Women at Work
Recruiters also consider more active labour market policies, encouraging women back into the labour force, a solution to the challenge of zero unemployment in Ireland.
Ireland’s female labour force participation has remained worryingly low, according to the ERF. Even with 80,000 more women at work than in 2014, Ireland is still the fifth lowest country for the proportion of women at work in the EU.
“Some of the current labour market pressures would be relieved by encouraging women back to work. But this requires action on a range of issues such as skills development, more choice in flexible work options, affordable child care and better provision, and more workable social protection measures” Geraldine King says.
Anne Heraty, CEO of global recruitment agency CPL; Professor Andrew Burke, Dean of Trinity College; Adam Hawkins, Linkedin Head of Search & Staffing; and Brendan McGinty, former IBEC director and now Managing Partner with Stratis Consulting, are among the conference contributors addressing how to navigate new ways of working and new workplaces.
Adam Harris, CEO of autism charity and advocacy group AsIAm, will address delegates on building a culture of inclusion in the workplace.
The 2020 conference theme, ‘Beyond All Limits’, reflects the changing recruitment and HR landscape in the last fifty years, in an evolving economy and society.
Delegates will discuss how the rapidly changing nature of work, the emergence of new business models, technological change including the rise of artificial intelligence, and the growing weight of services in the economy demands a new flexibility on the part of both business and employers, as 2020 ushers in the era of the contingent workforce.
Recruitment is a 3 billion euro industry in Ireland and 250 delegates will attend this month’s annual ERF conference.
Katie Piper, charity campaigner, author and inspirational speaker, is another keynote speaker discussing inclusion and empowerment. Piper rebuilt her life after surviving a brutal attack in 2008, at the age of 24. She talks about how physical appearance should not limit a person's function, inclusion, ambition or sense of well-being.
Aslan lead singer, Christy Dignam, is also scheduled to share his moving and inspirational life story with delegates.
This month’s National Recruitment Federation conference on Wednesday 19 February in the Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road in Dublin will address contingent workforce strategies, as well as approaches to attract talent and develop existing employees. See here for more info.