ThinkBusiness talks to Sean Judge, director of UpStarter, a tech recruitment fair that connects tech firms, startups, founders, and jobseekers.
When did the UpStarter begin? How has it grown?
UpStarter began in February 2016 with eight companies and 200 attendees. Our last event in March was our fifth event and had 30 companies and 1,200 job seekers in attendance. Our next event takes place at the Mansion House on October 3rd, and we expect over 1,500 attendees.
Accenture has been our headline sponsor since we launched, so their presence at the event is always very strong. Companies that do well at UpStarter also make sure to bring not only their recruitment team but employees from the business units they are looking to hire into. Our attendees want to know what the job they are applying to will be like from people already doing that particular role.
“Our ideal attendee is someone with two or more years experience across a wide range of roles.”
What’s Upstarter’s USP?
We are different to most recruitment events in that our target market is job seekers with a few years experience. Our event also takes place in the evening and is super casual with a free bar. We want people to come to our event to network with the Dublin tech community and meet some of the innovative companies in it, even if they aren’t necessarily looking for a job at this exact moment in time.
We started slow – our first event only had one or two well-known companies at it. Once the event started to grow, and tech companies from abroad started to attend, most of the Irish based tech companies wanted to get involved too.
“The companies in attendance are hiring analytics managers, software engineers, QA engineers, project managers, technology consultants, and designers.”
Who is your ideal attendee?
Our ideal attendee is someone with two or more years experience across a wide range of roles. The companies in attendance are hiring analytics managers, software engineers, QA engineers, project managers, technology consultants, and designers. We also have a huge demand for multi lingual applicants in sales and account management particularly those with Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Nordic languages.
We pretty much have had nearly every tech company based in Ireland attend UpStarter at this stage. Facebook hasn’t made an appearance yet, but hopefully, that’s only a matter of time.
How do you advertise the event?
We do extremely targeted Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn advertising. We also have a partnership with The Irish Times through its Executive Jobs site.
“Don’t be afraid to make a career change if you feel you aren’t in the right one for you.”
What would be your best advice to someone who just left college and is looking for a job in Ireland?
Don’t be afraid to make a career change if you feel you aren’t in the right one for you. On average we will all work 40+ years so making a change early on to find the right career path is never something to stray from.
What can be done to encourage more STEM graduates?
We see a huge amount of tech roles on offer at UpStarter and there is a bit of a supply issue with regards to skilled technology employees. Including computer applications modules in the secondary school curriculum is one thing, but I think the government can do more to encourage kids to get involved in initiatives like Coder Dojo and the Trinity Walton Club among others.
Questions by Barry Walsh.