Posted on Friday 15 June 2012 by Ulster Business

Irish team arrive

Attending the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monte Carlo are Joe Hogan and Niall Norton of Openet and Frank O'Keeffe, Ernst & Young Partner and Head of the Entrepreneur of the Year Programme Ireland.

While other businesses struggle to create jobs, entrepreneur led companies expanded their workforce by 16% in 2011, according to a report published today by Ernst & Young.

Global job hot spots: Help wanted, a survey of 400 of the world’s leading entrepreneurs launched at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year highlights that despite tough economic times, over two thirds of them also expected to hire in 2012. The majority of the positions require university degrees or substantial experience.

Nearly all of those entrepreneurs surveyed had increased their headcount last year, often by a substantial amount. On average the entrepreneurs surveyed from Ireland grew their headcount in 2011 by 13%. In Asia-Pacific and Europe the increases were 16% and 12% respectively and Americas 18%.

Openet, the Irish Finalist for World Entrepreneur of the Year are currently seeking to recruit 50 high skilled engineers for the Services and Product Development areas in Ireland. On top of this they have already recruited 53 people since January 2012. Openet said at the end of last year that it was looking into establishing a Belfast office.

When entrepreneurs were asked what kind of jobs they created (administrative, entry-level with and without university degrees, or experienced), 81% said they created roles for ‘experienced personnel’, while only 35% said to have recruited at ‘entry level with a degree’ and 29% recruited ‘entry level with no degree’.

In Ireland 76% of respondents confirmed that they hired at an experience level, 92% in the US followed by followed by Australia, 81%, Canada, 80%, UK, 78%.

Sixty-eight percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed anticipate increasing their workforce in the country where their company is headquartered in 2012. When asked for more details about their recruitment strategies, entrepreneurs confirmed that ‘growth in their product and service markets’ was the main reason for expanding their headcount followed by ‘technological and innovation improvements’.

Forty-four percent also expect to increase their workforce outside of their headquarters country. When asked why they were recruiting outside their national market in 2012, 74% of entrepreneurs confirmed this was in order to help them enter new markets. Only 14% said they were recruiting internationally to ‘take advantage of lower labour costs’ and only 8% said they wanted to benefit from ‘better government incentives’ in other countries.

Frank O’Keeffe, Partner and head of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Programme in Ireland: “Whether at home or abroad, in good economic times or bad, entrepreneurs are constantly looking for new opportunities to expand their business and service offerings. Despite the uncertain global economy, entrepreneurs are actively looking to recruit highly qualified and most importantly experienced staff.”

When the entrepreneurs were asked which factors in their domestic market could potentially impact their bullish 2012 hiring plans, government policies (23%) and a negative regulatory climate (16%) came out on top.

O’Keeffe added: “A handful of policy and regulatory changes could greatly improve entrepreneurs’ access to funding, which would make an even greater impact on job and wealth creation in our economy. Governments worldwide, led by the G20, should really appreciate entrepreneurs for what they are - an engine for growth.”

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