Monday, 7 November 2016

Are recruitment agencies dead?

One of Ireland’s leading internet entrepreneurs has pronounced the death of the recruitment agency and called for employers to invest more in upskilling employees.

Brendan Kavanagh has founded several businesses over the course of his career and now employs 360 staff across nine offices in Ireland, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and the USA.

His latest venture is HiUp, a free job-matching and upskilling app that connects jobseekers and employers directly. The app also allows jobseekers to identify any skills gaps they have and connect with training providers, either by taking training directly within the app or booking classroom-based training via the app.  

Speaking at the launch of HiUp in Dublin today (03.11.16), Kavanagh said his aim is to kill off recruitment agencies.  The recruitment sector is worth €1.73 billion* a year in Ireland.  According to Kavanagh, that money should be invested in training and qualifications for employees and jobseekers, rather than going to global recruitment giants.  

“I am calling on employers to stop wasting money on recruitment agencies and online job platforms; the technology they use is redundant,” he said.  “You’re paying the middleman but not getting visibility for your vacancies, so jobseekers are not seeing roles that match their skills.

“Recruitment is expensive.  Agencies take money from employers and sometimes from candidates too. Our technology cuts out the middleman and enables employers to match with a skilled, ready-to-go workforce.  We encourage and facilitate jobseekers to upskill in order to unlock their earnings potential and make Ireland’s workforce the most qualified in Europe.

“With HiUp, if a candidate doesn’t have the exact skills or qualifications for the jobs on offer, we tell them what training they need.  We empower people to get a job today and skill up for tomorrow. Goodbye job hunting, hello job matching, all in an app where you can learn more to earn more.”

Thousands of Vacancies in Ireland
Kavanagh said thousands of vacancies exist in Ireland across construction, manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare, retail, customer service and supply chain management.  At the same time, over 170,000 people are unemployed and youth unemployment remains high - at 15.9%.  

“Available vacancies are not being filled because the workforce can’t find them and recruitment agencies sit in the middle and don’t help employers or jobseekers match with the opportunities,” he said.

HiUp’s website lists vacancies across different sectors in real time. According to the site, there are currently:

  • 1,385 jobs available in catering and hospitality.  
  • 773 jobs available in property and construction.
  • 433 jobs available in retail.  

At today’s launch, Kavanagh also highlighted a recent Construction Industry Federation study, which showed an additional 76,000 construction workers will be needed over the next four years. The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs has also identified shortages of construction employees, and has shown that skills shortages are intensifying in the ICT, engineering, sales, customer care, logistics, health, business and finance sectors.  

“With the economy continuing to grow, and recent reports indicating we’re facing a shortage of workers at all skills levels, now is the time for jobseekers to take control of their careers, look at what opportunities are coming up, upskill, and get hired,” he said.  

Growth Plans and Upcoming Events  
While HiUp was launched in Ireland today, the company plans to roll out the app in the coming months to the UK, USA and Germany.  This means jobseekers in Ireland will be able to access opportunities across Europe, and eventually around the world.

A major new training partnership with the global safety science company UL will be announced in the coming weeks, focused on allowing Irish jobseekers to gain the skills and training they need to work in international markets.  Virtual jobs fairs and promotional events are also planned for Dublin, Cork and Monaghan in the weeks to come.  

How Does HiUp Work?
HiUp provides jobseekers with a single platform to find work — based on location, job preference, desired pay, skill set and experience — and to upskill, giving access to accredited online training courses. The app is free to download and the courses can be purchased at a low cost. This means that jobseekers take charge of their personal development and increase their chances of getting the maximum number of job matches.

For employers, HiUp provides a free one-stop-shop solution to advertise jobs, screen and recruit skilled workers. This means they will no longer have to pay expensive recruitment fees or sift through CV after CV; instead, they can concentrate on jobseekers who match the job specification and requirements.

HiUp also provides a platform for training providers to host their training content. Using this, they maximise their reach and increase the sales of their training courses. Not only does this help increase their revenue but also helps to promote their position within the learning and development industry.

HiUp is available to download for free from the Apple and Google Play Stores or by visiting

*The National Recruitment Federation in Ireland estimated last year that the value of the recruitment sector was €1.73 billion.