CareerWise, which has offices in Cork, Shannon, Galway, Mayo, and Dublin, had embarked on an online marketing programme in partnership with service provider ePresence since mid-2019 that involved a focus on the growth of online traffic to the website and in parallel social media platforms.
“The temptation was to pull back fully from this effort when Covid hit, but in fact, the opposite approach was taken,” said Ken Murphy, director, CareerWise Recruitment. “We are really glad that we didn’t cut back our spending in this area.”
The results of that decision have been very impressive and continue to improve. Overall, CareerWise’s relevant website traffic is up 54%, and applications for jobs up 73% since August last year.
LinkedIn followers of the company’s page are up 57% to 25,000 since January 2020 and more than 58% of traffic now comes from mobile phones.
One of the challenges of dealing with a business step-change like the current pandemic is to maintain a focus on customer and business growth.
“The natural tendency is to cut back on all areas of discretionary spend to allow the business to weather the storm,” said Ken Murphy. “This particular storm is proving to be several seasons long and is challenging business owners in a way that we have not experienced in previous market dips.
“The sustained nature and unpredictability of the virus has caused multiple readjustments and creativity to allow businesses to survive and hopefully thrive in the future.
“The temptation for marketing-spend and related effort is to cut everything immediately. This is very relevant in the recruitment sector where the shock of Covid has resulted in a significant reduction in live assignments across the client base.
“While sectors such as biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and food have shown resilience and some growth, other areas such as hospitality, financials and retail have taken a sharp correction.
“We felt that we now had the biggest and most engaged online audience created by the working from home dynamic. People also had more time online as other activities were limited and possibly were more open to engagement in the new normal. Our goal was to maintain relevance and connection in the quiet times so that we would be front of mind when business picked up.”
CareerWise worked to optimise its Irish team’s use of Zoom and Teams to maintain morale and to generate new ideas and concepts.
The company also embraced both instructive, social, and fun videos; generated relevant blog content that would help candidates and shared industry-relevant analyses, so that people could understand our industry knowledge.
This was done primarily with the website as a content anchor and use of LinkedIn, PPC, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to push out content. Ken Murphy said this really energised the team, and everyone felt part of the campaign.
“Our business is about helping people to achieve their potential and this campaign brought out the creativity within our whole team,” said Ken Murphy. “The market is still volatile and challenging, but the hope is that the creative hard work and investment pays off for the long term.”
CareerWise was established in Cork in 1999 Its key sectors of recruitment expertise include engineering, supply chain, IT, operations, science/pharma, HR, accounting/finance, and senior management roles.
The company’s corporate clients include some of Ireland’s leading companies, including UTC Aerospace Systems, Dairygold, MSD, Intel, Nutribio, Microsemi, Leading Edge, Kostal, Tricel, Zimmer, Crest Solutions, the Tekelek Group.
Meanwhile, Mr Murphy’s view of the Irish economy is generally positive. While noting that remote working continues to impact heavily upon sectors like retail and foodservice due to reduced footfall, the broader picture is broadly encouraging.
“While Ireland’s GDP is down around 6.1%, it compares positively with 12% or so drops in the EU. That is due to Ireland’s strong exports,” said Ken Murphy. “Business confidence is relatively strong, both among SMEs and the multinationals.
“In recruitment terms, there has been significant growth in demand for contractors in particular. We are still seeing a huge demand for engineers and scientists, with companies taking on more and more graduates.
“Pharma and medical devices continue to grow. While foodservice has taken a hit, the broader food sector has been an unsung hero in economic terms. There is a significant demand for skilled resources, including construction skills.”
Mr Murphy says the Irish economy does face significant threats, not least from the uncertainties around Brexit and the continuing pandemic. However, the economy still seems far more resilient now than it was at the time of the 2008 global banking crisis.
“The Irish economy is definitely in a far better place now than it was in 2008,” he said. “There have been massive savings made by consumers and corporates alike, and our economy is being sustained by a strong export base.
“We are seeing significant recruitment in pharma and med tech. Regeneron is recruiting in Limerick. Aerogen in Galway is hiring people who were working with Molex in Clare.
“ICT and technology companies are also hiring. There are risks. The hotel sector will struggle once the staycation trend slows. The automotive sector has taken a hit.
“We may also see a reduction in new investment due to people not flying into the country; people won’t make those decisions without visiting the sites. Against that, there is significant growth among the existing companies based here.”