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Great News on the jobs front?

Canada, Eli Lilly, an unnamed home entertainment provider, PayPal and Microsoft. What have all these got in common? You guessed it, they all hit the headlines in the recent past in a positive fashion, with regard to jobs announcements. But are we being led up the garden path with announcements like these?

I am a mere 50 words in to this piece and already I could be accused of being somewhat negative. Perhaps this assessment of my piece and outlook in general is correct, but only to a certain degree. Whilst I would expect the "Positive Ireland" hash tag brigade to attack me, or anyone who dares to utter any criticism, of what are in general positive announcements, I must reiterate that whilst I sometimes tend to reflect a critical light on positive situations, this is done with the intention of being factual and balanced. To a certain degree, when offered bad news I try to see the positive in it. The reason I am stressing this point, is so to assure that this piece is not read in the wrong light. Yes, I am about to indulge in yet another rant, however, please let me have this one, as it is well intended.

First of all, can the nations media be informed straight away, that an announcement on jobs being created thousands of miles away, that may suit some unemployed Irish construction workers, IS NOT a positive announcement for Ireland. I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard news bulletins headline with, "Great news on the jobs front............ the jobs are in construction in Canada.......". Whilst many Irish young men may find this good news for themselves I am sure their families don't feel the same, and, as a nation, any announcement that sees Irelands young people leave our shores, is as far removed from a positive announcement as is humanly possible. Don't get me wrong, I believe that as people we are individually responsible for our own destiny, and, moving abroad for career reasons, should not be seen personally as a bad choice, however, as a nation, Ireland is her people, anything that diminishes the strength of Ireland in her own land, is surely not good? 

Recently, I have grown ever more cynical, at press releases dreamed up by pr execs, for internationally based companies. For example a certain unnamed home entertainment provider recently released a statement about 800 new jobs they were creating. The important word in that statement was "new". Are they really going to be new, or, are they and some ill informed pr exec feeding Ireland positive garbage to give the brand some feel good element to it? They currently contract all their customer service and tele service business to a company in Cork. When questioned on it, neither companies were in a place to comment. If I am incorrect in my assessment of this I will hold my hands up immediately, and to be honest gladly, however, if these jobs are to be created at the expense of a contract and hundreds of jobs in the Cork based company I say, shame on the spin brigade. Press releases like that should be outlawed, and spin doctors who condone that kind of nonsense should change career, perhaps to something like banking, where their bare faced lies would be more acceptable. Editorial and press releases have to have a basis in fact, if I am correct, which I hope I am not, these had none. Again I hope I am wrong, but if not, it is stunts like this that only serve to cast a negative light on the pr industry and companies that use it, when no one knows what is fact or fiction anymore! It is especially disgusting when it is spin on such a sensitive topic.

We did have more positive announcements recently though. Eli Lilly expanding their operations in Cork, Microsoft hiring and Paypal rolling out 1000 more jobs. These are absolutely fantastic announcements however there is a but..... All of these companies are high tech specific companies. Pharmas and Tech companies need employees with specific skills and education and sometimes languages. For example, I know recently of a company who made a major job announcement, and ended up bringing in mostly European staff because of the language requirements needed within these "fantastic" roles. So my issue with these jobs is, how many of them will be granted to people already living within the Irish state? And even more importantly, how many of these jobs will reduce the numbers on the live register? It would be interesting to keep an eye on these stats, as I intend doing. It would also be very welcome to see FAS train the unemployed in these skills and to stop the constant recruitment of apprentice tradesmen four years after a construction crash.

Meanwhile in the land of the SME, new businesses are opening and expanding every day, creating multiples of the amount of job announcements we hear of from the beloved of the IDA and the government. And what thanks do they get? Far be it from the remit of any media outlet to spend a little time doing some real investigative work into where jobs are really being created, instead they get negative press constantly on top of crippling council rates, upward only rents, banks depositing their money but not lending, and sweet f all if they happen to go bust, only the tag of failure and a shut window at the social welfare office. I am sick and tired of SME's being taken for granted in this country. They can't win. They have the public on their back about prices, prices which they are forced to charge because of the overheads imposed on them, and if they go out of business there is no safety net, just 12 years of misery with no financial aid from the state. Yet because they don't have pals in high office or the money to spend in some plc PR house, they are forgotten about, and, the media would rather indulge some nonsense spun from institutions that have more power. 

So who's at fault in all of this? The media, the government, the IDA, the large companies? Probably all of the above. However, let's not forget that the ones lapping it up are you and me, so until we stop eating the rubbish, they won't stop feeding it to us. I have spent my whole career in advertising. Many people are critical of advertising and every year you have complaints made to the likes of the ASAI and other authorities about various elements of advertising campaigns. Advertising is the knack of utilising the promotion of a product to best engage its target audience. It is not about lying about the qualities or details on a product in a bid to enable you to promote it more vigorously. That's a core value every ad exec will hold dear to their hearts, well at least most of them. I wish the same rules applied to press releases and the validity of supposed good news!


  1. Great piece Diarmaid,
    I suspect you are on the money there, especially in regard to the unnamed home entertainment provider. I remember saying the same to the TV when that was announced, but I would have been slow to repeat it outside the home as realism is often frowned upon in the "new" post FF Ireland.
    Anyway thanks for your thoughts and best wishes.
    Rommel B

  2. Cheers Rommel, much appreciated. Totally agree with you, re the positivity brigade. I am a positive person, however, I am also a realist, someone who doesn't like fooling myself or other people. Thanks for your thoughts, again they are very much appreciated!



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