Last week I was back in Dublin for my brother’s graduation. It caused me to reminisce about my graduation from the same university with the same degree not so long ago. From the gowns and ceremony, to parents eagerly taking photos and everyone asking each other what they were doing now, even to where people were going for drinks afterward, almost nothing had changed, except one key difference.
Four years ago when I graduated I joined Lehman Brothers and by chance, because of its collapse, ended up in a start-up, called Ondra. I remember my graduation day speaking to my peers and hearing what they were all doing. Almost everyone was either going travelling, working in an accountancy or consulting firm, or a large corporate. It was definitely an odd thing that I had joined a start-up over a larger more established firm.
That experience was in stark contrast to the conversations I had with my brother’s friends at his graduation. There were of course still a number of people going travelling, and a few working in finance/accounting but almost every second conversation involved people working in a startup, starting a company themselves, or working in the technology sector in Dublin.
I spoke to people who had gotten jobs in local Dublin start-ups like NewsWhip, Soundwave, and Scalefront, others at technology companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Two who had founded companies of their own called Bearna and PearUp. One was applying to the NDRC; a local start-up accelerator with an initial idea, and another had just come back from an incubator in New York. I was amazed to see that even though it was the same degree from the same university within four years the entire opportunity mindset for these graduates had changed.
Students will always adapt and move to where there are opportunities. When the Irish economy was in bad shape in the 80s and there weren’t enough challenging and rewarding jobs here, so there was a mass exodus of the graduates and highly skilled Irish. While we are facing similar macro economic challenges now, things are different. Events like the WebSummit and ArchieTalks and initiatives by Enterprise Ireland have encouraged and inspired many to both start companies in Ireland and also bring them here from other countries.
This huge increase in the number of start-ups has opened up a whole new set of opportunities. So while the banks, accountancy and consulting firms may be hiring less, startups are using this to their advantage to hire amazing graduates. This was seen last month at the DubStarts job fair, organised by Vinnie Lyons. In the last two events that he’s run over 500 people have attended and close to 50 have now gotten jobs from dozens of Irish Startups. It has been so successful they are now launching a permanent job website just for that purpose here.
I’m by no means saying that working in an early stage company is for everyone, the advantages and disadvantages of doing so are discussed by many others in articles and blogs online, two examples from the last six months are Fast Company and Independent. What is clear is that many people in Ireland are now considering entrepreneurship, and joining a start-up as a viable career paths. With so much activity in the sector this new mindset is hopefully here to stay.
For those who are looking to workwith Irish Startups I’d recommend checking out sites like DubStarts and also StartupWiki.ie for a pretty comprehensive list of all the Dublin startups. If you think you’re an amazing candidate and want to join Frontline or any of our portfolio companies we have just launched the jobs section on our own site with its first position, Marketing Intern at Frontline Ventures. APPLY HERE while it is still available and keep checking back for more exciting opportunities to join startups in the future.