(Un)employment in the Irish PR Game and the whole Game in general…

AUGUST 21, 2010 AS SOME 58,000 wide-eyed Leaving Cert students celebrated their results this week, breezily holding their slips aloft,there seemed little indication that they were troubled about their future job prospects. But this weekend, in advance of the announcement of the CAO course points on Monday, many must wonder what, in this climate, those hard-won qualifications can yield. At a time when unemployment has reached a record high and when the CSO points to 59,000 jobless graduates, it seems an incredibly bleak time to be leaving school. No wonder almost half of last year’s graduates have chosen further education rather than sign on the dole.

Here, the Mail catches up with several of those graduates who have signed up for Masters, as well as those who have emigrated, and the lucky few who have managed to get employment…

SKIP PARTS WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S STORIES TO GET TO THE MAIN EVENT…

MARTYN ROSNEY

MARTYN Rosney, 23, is from Killarney, Co. Kerry. He graduated last year with a BA degree in Commerce from University College Cork. He then went back to college to study for a Masters in Public Relations at DIT. He says that many companies are exploiting young graduates desperate for work by insisting on unpaid employment. His parents run a small hotel in Killarney and his two younger sisters are studying Journalism and Hotel Management. He says: ‘Lots of businesses are using the recession to exploit graduates. Out of my Master’s class of 45 at DIT, every single one of them, bar me, is working for free at the moment. Everyone is doing something though, we’re not sitting around waiting for a job to land in our laps. It’s a real catch-22 because every job you go for, you need experience and if you don’t have experience, they say, “Well come and work here for a month and we’ll show you the ropes”. Some companies even make graduates work for three months for no money. I’ve applied for lots of jobs and have gone down to the last few a couple of times. But it was always my lack of experience that went against me. That’s fine except what are you supposed to live on in the meantime? I’ve been lucky my parents have been supporting me for the past five years. Are they expected to continue to do that? It’s embarrassing and degrading. One company offered me EUR100 a week to cover my bus fares. If you are working for free, you also can’t sign on which means you’re relying on your family. It’s just another way in which the Government is shifting the burden back onto families. My two siblings, who are both in college, have no doubt they will face the same situation. Still, I very nearly agreed to work for free until I got my current job which is in marketing with a tour operator in Malahide who bring American golfers into Ireland. But I think if I want to get into my chosen field I’ll have to leave Ireland and come next January, I think I’ll be heading to London or New York. But it’s a different think going abroad when you’re forced to do it, rather than when you have the choice. I voted Fine Gael in the last election and I’d vote for them again. It’s a disgrace how long Fianna Fail have been in power and what they’ve done.’

First off, I’d like to clarify I did not write this piece. This piece was written by a journalist based on a 20-25 minute phone conversation with me. While I obviously agree with the thrust of the piece as previous pieces written by me will attest to there are a few errors that I would like to rectify.

1. Bachelors Degree in Commerce (B. Comm) not BA

2. “Out of my Master’s class of 45 at DIT, every single one of them, bar me, is working for free at the moment.” I’m not sure where this came from, I did say that there were a lot working for free but not every one.

3. I’m not sure my sisters will be in the same position.

4. “But it’s a different think going abroad…” I presume the journalist meant thing.

To address some of the more salient points with within the piece.

1. “He says that many companies are exploiting young graduates desperate for work by insisting on unpaid employment.” This is still unfortunately true. Summer internships are ending and those promised jobs are not coming to fruition. I am hearing word of interns being replaced by new more eager, less jaded interns.

2. “It’s a real catch-22 because every job you go for, you need experience and if you don’t have experience, they say, “Well come and work here for a month and we’ll show you the ropes”.” Internships do not equate to experience. In a group discussion on my previous rant on internships on LinkedIn, (PRII LinkedIn Group) this comment was made by Padraig McKeon “If you put no value on something then it is treated as just that – something of no value. Padraig McKeon is a Director with Drury and is a very well respected figure in Irish Public Relations. This comment highlights the poor value companies place on internships.

3. “It’s a disgrace how long Fianna Fail have been in power and what they’ve done.” I would have to hold these sentiments, even if they are a tad bit off topic.

UPDATE: Things are looking up for this humble blogger. Since January, 2011 I have been working in Corporate PR in WHPR and thankfully I haven’t had to jump ship!

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