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Emigrants returning for Christmas targeted by local businesses as 1,000 well-paid jobs unfilled

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Aisling Desmond of JRI America finance team in Tralee and Kerry footballer Colm Cooper of AIB Tralee at the launch of the Kerry 2017 Expo. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Aisling Desmond of JRI America finance team in Tralee and Kerry footballer Colm Cooper of AIB Tralee at the launch of the Kerry 2017 Expo. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Aisling Desmond of JRI America finance team in Tralee and Kerry footballer Colm Cooper of AIB Tralee at the launch of the Kerry 2017 Expo. Photo: Domnick Walsh

At least 1,000 well-paid jobs are unfilled in Kerry prompting local businesses to target emigrants returning for Christmas.

Today a county-wide bill board campaign will be launched, supported by over 150 companies, and asks those returning for the holidays to ‘Come home for work in 2017’.

“The lack of highly-skilled workers is impacting progress in the county,” explains campaign organiser Liz Maher.

The Tralee-based businesswoman adds: “We calculate that there are over 1,000 skilled jobs, half of those connected to Tourism, which need to be filled but since the downturn so many of our young graduates who left Kerry have still not come home. The county is booming again but the number of ‘wanted’ adverts keeps growing.”

Planning to hold a Kerry Expo event on April 9th next at the INEC in Killarney organisers have placed 50 billboards across Kerry as part of their roadside campaign.

Fred McDonogh, from Kerry-based Red Chair Recruitment, told the Irish Independent that openings are available across the board in Kerry if only applicants would consider them.

“We have so many positions in I.T, Financial Services, Construction, Healthcare, the Hospitality Sector, Education, Sales and so on…but the difficult bit is getting those who have left to look at them and come home. It’s so important that we sell the county and all it has to offer because the salaries are on a par with city salaries and the cost of living and accommodation is so much less,” he said. 

Dr. Edmond Harty, CEO of Farm Equipment Supplier DairyMaster, explained that, at a time when house prices and rental prices are sky-rocketing elsewhere, moving to the Kingdom makes so much sense.

“We carried out research which showed you’d need to be earning €16,000 more a year, on average, to maintain anything resembling the same quality of life in Dublin as you have here in Kerry. That’s the same house, same length of commute, same lifestyle and so on. Like it takes me seven minutes to commute to work each day and I don’t even live that close to our base in Causeway.”

Dairymaster had planned to recruit 40-new employees at its headquarters in Kerry in 2016 but a number of those positions have still not been filled.

Well-Known GAA stars, including Kerry’s Colm Cooper who works for AIB in Killarney, have backed the campaign and hope it encourages those who have left the county to return.

Cooper said: “Over the years a lot of lads I went to school with and played football with moved away for work but some have decided to come home. Its clear there are so many excellent career opportunities and well-paid jobs on offer in Kerry. And its such an amazing place to live. I hope those who return for Christmas consider coming home for good.”

At the JRI America IT company in the Kerry Technology Park in Tralee Chief Executive Shane Walsh has been successful in recruiting graduates, on starting salaries of around €30,000. He’ll be on the hunt for at least ten more employees by next summer. 

But he too is hoping the more experienced and highly-skilled emigrants returning this Christmas seek opportunities with the expanding company.

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“Kerry is ideal for young families and you’re never far from a beach or mountain. We have people here who were paying €800-a-month for a room in Dublin, now they’re paying less than that for a beautiful two-bedroom apartment in Kerry. The jobs are well paid, the career paths of progression clear, levels of disposable income are much higher and now there’s a very healthy ecosystem in Kerry for innovative businesses.”

And Liz Maher hopes the campaign will open people’s eyes to what’s available from a jobs and lifestyle perspective in Kerry.

“We want to dispel the myth that there are no jobs in Kerry,” she said, adding “there are…and what’s more they’re often as good, if not better, than those available in the likes of Dublin or London.”  


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