Realising the value of diversity in the workplace

Davin Roche

Davin Roche, Director of Workplace Diversity at the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), writes that there are many benefits that come from employers, not just employees,  embracing inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. 

The positive impact of Health Minister Leo Varadkar TD speaking publicly about being a gay man earlier this year dovetails with positive comment from industry leaders such as the ESB’s Pat O’Doherty and IBM’s Peter O’Neill.  It is clear that more and more employers are seeing the value of investing in LGBT equality and inclusion in the workplace.

But there is still much to do. Minister Varadkar is one of approximately 170,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Irish workforce, almost half have not come out. It is clear that executive leaders can play a significant role communicating a message that is translated into inclusive practice and culture throughout the business.

Companies need to ask themselves, are their personnel equipped to support LGBT employees who want to be open about who they really are? Our own evidence shows that when LGBT people come out at work it is more likely to be to their peers than to their manager, but the relationship with the latter is critical in order for companies to be able to engage with their employees. One in four LGBT people have experienced bullying or harassment at work while one in ten have missed work as a result. Minister Varadkar was fortunate with the support of An Taoiseach when he was coming out, can most LGBT people say the same thing?

Many are still navigating their way through workplaces with cultures that do not promote inclusivity of all. This is unfortunate for the employee and the company. Surveys show that LGBT people who are out are more engaged, report higher levels of job satisfaction and stay longer in organisations.

GLEN works with a wide range of employers to ensure that their equality and diversity initiatives include LGBT issues through our Diversity Champions Programme and network for employers.

We recently launched the Workplace Equality Index, to allow employers to benchmark their organisations on LGBT diversity and inclusion, this is an initiative supported by many major employers, such as IBM; “The Workplace Equality Index allows participating organisations to get an independent assessment of their LGBT diversity policies and practices. It provides us with an incentive to improve and demonstrates that diversity is vital to our success,” said Peter O’Neill of IBM.

Davin Roche

Director of Workplace Diversity

Diversity Champions – Ireland’s Network of LGBT Inclusive Employers  

Big winners and bright futures at the 2015 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards

On April 30th almost 600 of Ireland’s graduate recruiters, course providers and influencers came together in the Round Room of the Mansion House to celebrate achievement and innovation in the graduate recruitment area, on the back of a year which has seen the market rebound considerably as a result of the continuing economic recovery. 2015 marked the largest ever gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards, which were conducted in partnership with the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS) and the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The winners at the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2015

The winners at the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2015

Hosted by RTE’s Brian Dobson, the awards ranged throughout the graduate recruitment spectrum and also acknowledged achievement in the postgraduate course provision area. Indeed this area saw the first awards of the evening, the AHECS awards, being presented, the winners being:

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Aspiring tech graduates wanted for pan-European start-up project


European-wide search for aspiring-tech entrepreneurs begins

 The University College Cork (UCC) launch of the EU-XCEL European Virtual Accelerator on April 15th marked the start of a European-wide recruitment campaign seeking out talented aspiring entrepreneurs in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). This hunt for tech-savvy graduates offers the opportunity to participate in an innovative virtual accelerator programme, focused on finding entrepreneurs who are ready to operate in a business ‘incubator’ environment.

“Our mission is to provide the optimum virtual and physical platforms to enable aspiring ICT tech entrepreneurs to flourish and become incubator ready after our international five month acceleration programme,” said programme Director, Dr Brian O’Flaherty.

Successful applicants from across Europe will participate as part of newly formed international start-up teams alongside some of the most promising and talented tech entrepreneurs in 5-month intensive, specially designed entrepreneurship training and mentoring programmes.

Successful applicants to the European Virtual-Accelerator programme will receive:

1: A week-long training and mentoring ‘start-up scrum’ in one of six countries – Ireland, Germany, Spain, Greece, Poland and Denmark.

2: Access to a bespoke virtual accelerator of supports to assist teams develop and refine their start-up idea

3: The opportunity to pitch to and connect with venture capitalists, angel investors and successful tech entrepreneurs in the EU-EXCEL Challenge

In addition, all successful applicants will receive:

  • An opportunity to win a significant financial prize
  • An opportunity to travel to one of six one-week long European start-up scrums with free flights & accommodation
  • Access to peer and mentoring networking/entertainment events
  • An opportunity to become part of an international EU-XCEL team and meet potential co-founders for the new venture
  • Fast-track access to a European accelerator programme

EU-XCEL is a horizon 2020 funded project and part of Start Up Europe.  The wider project partners outside Cork are made up of universities and incubator centres from across the European Union, including Denmark, Germany, Greece, Poland and Spain. “The internationalisation of entrepreneurship is a major component of this programme and the exchange element of the programme will enable cross-fertilisation and the pursuit of new ventures across a number of European countries,” says project director, Dr Joe Bogue of UCC.

For further information, please see or contact Siobhan Bradley, EU-XCEL Project Co-ordinator, Department of Business & Information Systems, UCC on or T: +0035321 490 3404.

For more on opportunities in the tech sector, read gradireland’s sector hub on careers in the IT and tech sector

Register for free entry to Ireland’s only dedicated STEM jobs fair



Take the time today to register for free entry to tomorrow’s GRADchances STEM Fair at the RDS, with top companies with jobs on offer meeting over 1200 registered attendees at the only dedicated graduate STEM recruitment event in Ireland.

This one day event (12-4pm) brings together STEM undergraduates and graduates with employers who are actively recruiting to fill STEM opportunities. This is the must-attend event for all STEM undergraduates, graduates and young professionals.

The GRADchances STEM Fair will feature:

  • The leading graduate employers across all areas of STEM
  • gradireland jobs wall with live graduate jobs
  • A range of professional careers seminars
  • Networking opportunities with leaders in the Irish STEM sector

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) sector is a  cornerstone of Irish economic growth, with jobs across a vast range of disciplines, and its growth means it is constantly seeking graduates with the right skills.

“Whether you’re a science graduate looking for an R&D role, an IT graduate with programming skills, an engineering graduate looking for an electrical role, a mathematics graduate seeking to let your analytical skills shine or anything else in the STEM field, the GRADchances STEM Fair is the perfect event to help create a solid foundation for your career,” says Mark Mitchell, gradireland publisher.

In addition to valuable one to one meetings with some of Ireland’s top companies in this sector, there is also a full programme of seminars on the day to give you the inside track on what employers in the STEM sector are looking for. These include:

The future of STEM in Ireland – advice for STEM graduates: This industry lead panel discussion will feature experts from the areas of STEM who will discuss the future of STEM in Ireland for graduates. Topics that will be covered include:

  • The current demands for graduates of STEM
  • Upskilling options to increase your employability
  • What career opportunities are available in STEM
  • Key recruitment advice for recent STEM graduates?

The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session, if you have any questions to ask you can submit them by tweeting @gradireland using the hashtag #gradSTEM.

Key skills required by tech companies: This industry lead panel discussion will feature experts from the areas of Technology who will give STEM students and graduates an insight into what key skills they must obtain to lead to a successful career within the STEM industry.

Careers in technology: Technology professionals and engineers will talk about their careers, from their new-graduate roles to their current senior positions. Come and ask all your burning questions and get tips for a successful career. They will also reveal what makes a successful first interview and welcomes you to put your skills to practice on the day.

Ericsson: The Network Society: Louise Harvey of Ericsson will provide  an overview on the technology Ericsson has shaped, the technology it is shaping and share with you the benefits and opportunities of a career with Ericsson.




gradireland Talent Summit: Employers recognising value of developing and engaging their employees

Today, Wednesday March 25th, saw the hosting of the second Halogen Software/gradireland Talent Summit, with input from industry insiders and debate from the broader talent management community. The questions of what the core challenges would be in terms of talent management for the 12 months ahead were central to the morning’s discussion, and what any possible answers would mean for both employers and employees.

The first presentation of the morning was from Katie McGrath, an account manager with Halogen Software, presenting on the future of strategic talent management. In October and November 2014  Halogen conducted a poll of talent professionals and found that less than half had a talent management strategy. 30% of the 237 polled felt that their talent strategy was not working well and 40% of those respondents said that they expected to increase their overall talent management budget as economic improvement continues. “Talent management is clearly returning to the top of employers’ priorities,” said Katie, but what are recruiters’ priorities when it comes to actually managing their employees?

Talent management priorities were identified by the Halogen research as employee engagement, training, performance management, recruitment & retention of the right people. So what does that mean for the jobseeker or employee? It means that employers are again embracing the reality that it will be hard for them to attract and retain the talent they need for their businesses. Which is good news for jobseekers with the right core skills that the employer wants. Employers are also realising that they need to engage with their employees, according to Halogen’s research only 14% of companies saw their levels of engagement as high, with 64% agreeing it was very low.

It’s interesting to see that employers are now focusing on engagement and personal development as one of their main tools in attracting and retaining talent, because Mark Mitchell, gradireland Publisher, presented research which showed that “respondents to the gradireland/Trendence student survey also viewed development and fulfilment within a job as preferable to earning lots of money and opportunities and development as preferable to perks and amenities. This reflects research into the importance of ‘buy-in’ amongst young employees. It’s not enough to do the job, they need to have a significant level of belief in the job and trust in the organisation’s goals,” said Mark.

Indeed, speaking of trust, the closing speaker at the Talent Summit was John Ryan, CEO of Great Places to Work Ireland, who spoke about the cultures and core attributes of companies what had been recognised as unique and rewarding places to work. It was trust, clarity and recognition which was most commonly identified by employees, again pointing to the importance of engagement and development. Of course, in return for this investment in employees, companies will expect to be rewarded by loyalty and performance. Striking the balance of this relationship will be increasingly important for job-hunters, employees and employers in this time of changing workplace dynamics.

Ireland’s brightest students shine at National Student Challenge

National Student Challenge Winner Matthew Foyle

National Student Challenge Winner Matthew Foyle

Matthew Foyle from Griffith College Dublin was crowned National Student Challenge winner at the annual competition held by gradireland, writes Fergal Browne.

Bringing together over 50 of Ireland’s brightest students – who were the top performers in an online assessment specifically set to mirror the qualities employers are looking for – and some of Ireland’s top graduate recruiters like Lidl and PwC, the event was branded a success by both the competitors and the graduate recruiters.

“It’s been really stimulating. The most valuable part I’m going to take away from the day is a new way of thinking in stuff like supply chain management, and communicating,” said eventually winner Matthew Foyle who was the first National Student Challenge winner from Griffith College Dublin.

Matthew, who received a cheque for €1,000, highlighted that the event is also a brilliant networking opportunity. “The networking part is vital for me. I’m applying for a lot of graduate programme positions and this is an opportunity to talk to employers about what they are looking for and how to tailor my CV appropriately”, said the 2015 champion.

The event saw six employers – Lidl, the Public Appointments Service, PwC, EY, Bank of Ireland and AbbVie – challenge students in a range of tasks and competencies which were designed to be fun but demanding.

“We have been really impressed by the standard of students here. Some of them seemed to have the complete package; brains, personality and charisma. It’s great to see,” says Susan Murdock, Graduate Programme Manager at Bank of Ireland (BoI).

BoI set students the task of designing a mobile phone app in small groups. “We are looking for imagination and creativity because these are the qualities that we look for at Bank of Ireland”, says Susan. BoI is bringing on 80 students from across all disciplines for its graduate programme. “We are happy to consider anybody from any discipline. If they have creativity, there’s a place for them here”, adds Susan.

Major pharmaceutical firm AbbVie, which has manufacturing plants in Sligo and Cork, alongside offices in Dublin and internationally, set students the challenge of working in small teams to design and fly paper airplanes.

“What we were looking for is a good attitude”, says Angela Haran, AbbVie’s Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist. “We are very much a team-orientated environment, so a great attitude is a major part,” she adds.

The importance of a positive attitude was highlighted by Lidl too. “We are looking for three things; for students to enjoy themselves, contribute to the overall team effort and throw themselves into the task”, says Lidl’s Graduate Programme Manager, Russell Palfrey.

Lidl’s inventive task involved blindfolding four students while the other team members led the blindfolded students to certain parts of the room by directing them only by using whistles. “It’s directly linked to our business because we have trucks leaving our warehouses everyday to reach our stores,” adds Russell.

“The Lidl challenge was brilliant fun. It’s a great mix between doing something fun and serious team building,” says Stephen Brennan, a final year Engineering and Electronics student from TCD who took part in the event.

Language Careers Fair a huge success for graduates and employers

IMG_1912Over 800 students, graduates and jobseekers attended Ireland’s only language careers fair, as employers got a chance to meet students and graduates with strong language skills, writes Fergal Browne.

It’s the second time gradireland has run the GRADchances Language Fair in the RDS, which this year saw 20 employers advertising jobs for those with fluency in almost every European and world language.

One of the companies at the event, Wayfair – an online store specialising in furniture – came to the language event to source German and French speakers for customer service positions for its base in Galway.

“It’s been a great event”, says Jess Delahunt, Senior Recruiter at Wayfair. “Some of the CVs I received today, I actually wrote ‘hire’ on them, because I plan on getting these candidates interviewed next week and my recommendation to managers will be the get these people on board,” he says.

Most companies at the event were seeking to recruit immediately as many are expanding their operations in Ireland. One company, Cork-based Voxpro, currently has 700 employees with plans to expand to 1,000 by the end of this year and 1,700 by 2017. “We are looking for everything at the moment. If you have a European language, we’re interested”, says Catriona Flynn, a recruiter for the company.

Claudia Escobar came to the language fair to network with employers and see what jobs are out there. She arrived in Ireland from her native Mexico three and a half years ago and is finishing up her degree in Business Studies with a specialisation in Marketing at Independent Colleges in May.

“I’m really interested in doing either marketing or human resource management. I’ve been really surprised by how friendly all the employers are here. They are happy to answer all my questions and it’s given me a really great idea of what I can do with my Spanish and English when I finish college”, says the Mexican native.

Almost all the employers agreed one of the most difficult languages to source great talent for is German due to the large amount of positions available for those with that language.

“This really surprised me”, says Kyra Maron, originally from Nuremburg, Germany, who is studying European Studies in Trinity College. “Straight away when I told employers I speak German, they wanted to take my email address and were telling me how much they need German speakers. It’s really eye-opening to see how in demand the language is”, she says.


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