HR Tech Start-Ups in Ireland

New article by Declan Foster, Ireland Together’s advisor, notes how Irish tech start-ups are bringing solutions and making a difference in HR across the country

As a self-confessed HR Tech nerd, I am excited to see how strong and vibrant the HR Tech start up market is here in Ireland. I am a keen follower of trends in this area having worked around HR technology for over 20 years. Returning to Ireland a few years ago, having worked overseas for over two decades, I was impressed with the number and breadth of Irish tech start-ups in this area.

Call it HR Tech, HRIS, Talent Management Systems, or Talent Tech this category includes the software that covers the entire employee journey; from applicant through to employee and right through to alumni systems that help keep ex-employees engaged with your organisation. From recruitment to engagement, learning to payroll, Irish tech start-ups are providing solutions to almost all of HR needs.

My thoughts on the strength of this sector were confirmed when Enterprise Ireland recently released a Talent Tech directory which lists over 50 Irish Talent Tech providers, who are at various stages of the start-up journey e.g. Workvivo, an employee communication platform provider, who recently announced a $16m Series A funding round. My analysis of the 2019 Business Post Hot 100 Start-Ups found that the biggest category was HR Tech, at 12%, followed by Medical/Pharmaceuticals.

So, why has Ireland become so successful in HR Tech? Ireland’s position as a key hub for big global employers like Google, Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and LinkedIn has certainly helped. And of course, Enterprise Ireland has played a huge part in helping to develop and nurture the ecosystem required for these start-ups to thrive, through training, support, and even direct investment. Also, in recent years Ireland has been able to attract a multicultural talent pool from all over the world, increasing the diversity and availability of key talent for start-ups. As a returned emigrant this diversity has been one of the most noticeable and positive differences that I have seen.

A report in Silicon Republic cited analysis from NimbleFins, a consumer research website, that ranked Ireland as number three in Europe as the best place to start a start-up. Our low corporate tax rates and educated workforce have certainly helped.

In addition, start -up hubs dotted around the country, including Dublin’s Dogpatch Labs, have helped by providing a space for entrepreneurs to work from and connect with other entrepreneurs. As you might expect the majority of these start-ups are based in Dublin but you only have to look at Frankli, based in Sligo, and Workvivo, based in Cork, to see that you don’t need to be in the capital to thrive. Indeed, as we move hopefully into a post-Covid 19 new normal, where you or your employees are based will be become less important, with a lot of tech and knowledge workers looking for work-from-home opportunities.

So, what’s next for this sector? According to PwC the HR Tech market is worth $148 billion and a report by GlobeNewswire predicted double-digit growth in this sector for the period from 2020 to 2025, so there is plenty of opportunity here. Of course, like all other sectors, Covid 19 will have an impact but as we move into new ways of working the demand for innovative HR tech can only increase.

We all should support these start-ups wherever we can e.g. if you are looking at HR Tech for your organisation there is probably a least one Irish provider that you should at least consider. I, for one, will be doing everything I can to support this important sector over the coming years.

More HR and Employment articles available here.