'Recruitment is a challenge,' admits Veolia head
Employers must sell themselves to win staff in an increasingly competitive jobs market, including tapping into younger workers' environmentalism, according to Veolia Ireland executive Sinéad Patton.
Recruitment of staff such as engineers remains "competitive" in an economy close to full employment, but younger workers are increasingly looking to work with what they deem to be socially responsible employers, the chief financial officer and chief commercial officer of the multinational giant's operations in Ireland said.
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"Recruitment is a challenge," said Ms Patton. "When you're out in the marketplace, there is a lot of demand. Ireland is doing well, so there's more choice for people. We are hiring a lot of people within Ireland, but we do have a mobility programme as well where we look wider, so if there are people abroad - Irish or otherwise - we can seek to bring them in as well.
"We are finding with some people, that they like what we are doing, they like what we can do for the environment - that's a hot topic, particularly for young people. They want to make sure the world is a better place."
In Ireland, Veolia is involved in the energy, water and waste sectors. It employs more than 600 people in the Republic and about 120 in Northern Ireland. It has hired 43 staff this year and has 60 vacancies.
Veolia - which is headquartered in Paris - generated turnover of €130m across the island of Ireland last year, a figure which is expected to rise by about 5pc this year.
Ms Patton insisted the challenges in worker availability won't hinder the company's expansion plans in Ireland.
Veolia's energy unit accounted for €56m of turnover in 2017, and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €3m. Its water unit generated turnover of €54m and adjusted EBITDA of €2.1m in 2017. Its environmental services division reported turnover of £20.4m (€23.3m) and adjusted EBITDA of £2m (€2.3m).
Last year, Veolia started work on an €80m project to upgrade the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant in Dublin for Irish Water.