Minister Burton Opens National Recruitment Federation Annual Conference

Minister aims to engage with employers and recruitment consultants to ensure they have access to skilled, work-ready candidates

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, this morning (Thursday 10th May 2012) opened the National Recruitment Federation Annual Conference, which has as its theme ‘The Way Forward’.

 Speaking at the Conference, Minister Burton said: “The theme of your annual conference, ‘The Way Forward’  has never been more relevant – to you, the recruitment consultants, in your crucial work; to the Government in leading the country and the economy back to stability and prosperity; and, indeed, to me in my work in the Department of Social Protection. A major transformation is taking place in the way that employment and activation services are delivered. This is being driven by the Government’s ‘Action Plan on Jobs’ and ‘Pathways to Work’ policy initiatives. 

“We will not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s when unemployment remained high even after economic recovery took hold. This time, those who have been unemployed will be job-ready when the recovery comes. Our target is to get 75,000 people who are currently long-term unemployed back into the workforce and to reduce the average time spent on the live register from 21 months today to less than 12 months by the end of 2015.”

Minister Burton told the delegates that they have a critical role to play in meeting these ambitious targets and strongly encouraged them to engage with her Department’s services and with those who are unemployed when making recruitment choices. The Minister assured delegates that jobseekers will, with the assistance of the Department of Social Protection, have received the supports that they need to enable them to be job ready, highly motivated and an asset to whichever organisation they join.  

Minister Burton continued: “My Department is resetting the relationship with employers and industry professionals.   Our aim is to develop more meaningful and strategic engagement with employers and recruitment consultants to ensure that you have access to skilled candidates who are work ready. 

“My officials are also exploring opportunities for contracting with the private sector as a means of complementing our own resources in areas such as job matching and job placement. As part of the consultations that have been underway, I have been taking a keen interest in the meetings that officials of my Department have been having with representatives of your Federation.”  

Minister Burton concluded by acknowledging the work of the National Recruitment Federation. The National Recruitment Federation comprises 3,000 recruitment consultants in almost 200 active employment agencies, placing almost 70,000 individuals, more than a third of whom are going into permanent placements.

A number of supports for employers and jobseekers from the Department of Social Protection are set out below. 


 Supports for jobseekers and employment growth measures

• The Department of Social Protection will spend €977 million on employment supports including Community Employment schemes in 2012, up from €882 million in 2011. This increased spending of €95 million, against a backdrop of significant fiscal consolidation, underlines the Government’s commitment to enhancing support for employment.

• The Department is offering over 80,000 job placement or work experience initiatives in 2012 including JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme and the Jobs Initiative.

• The Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme, administered by the Department of Social Protection, which exempts employers from liability to pay their share of PRSI for certain employees for twelve months, was extended into 2012 and to cover the first 18 months of employment.

• The Government has introduced a range of reforms and incentives to support, protect and create jobs, including through the Jobs Initiative in May 2011.  Job creation and protection was also a central priority underpinning Budget 2012.

• A range of measures were included across a number of sectors to support employment growth in multinational and indigenous companies, the agri-food sector, international financial services, research and development activity and start–up companies.

The National Recruitment Federation

• The National Recruitment Federation, which was founded in 1971, is the representative body of the recruitment agency industry in Ireland. The Recruitment sector employs over 3,000 staff and approximately 40,000 temporary workers. The industry is worth €1billion per annum.