Paypal demand language skills … 71118.html
*PayPal forced to ‘import’ 500 workers and warns of language skills crisis

THE online company that announced 1,000 new jobs in February yesterday said it is having trouble finding Irish workers with the necessary language skills.

Instead, PayPal has been forced to ‘import’ employees from abroad – 500, or half of those required – at a far higher cost.

Global operations vice-president Louise Phelan warned that we need to focus on language skills here to protect our status as a European gateway.

She said Ireland suffered from a “deficiency” in workers with second languages. “We are a gateway to Europe but we need to ensure we are supporting the languages. Absolutely there is a deficiency in languages in Ireland. I am bringing in 50pc of our language cover I require from 19 other countries.”

Ms Phelan said the education system required a grassroots change to ensure future workers had the language and science qualifications the business world needed.

She highlighted current gaps in the number of people who speak German, Dutch and Nordic languages, and said alternative employee sourcing has been introduced – but at a greater expense to the company.

“I have to give them relocation, pay for their travel, their board for seven to 10 days to get them in here,” she said. “That shouldn’t be a cost to the industry; the education system should have them groomed for me.” cont.

A bit of honesty is required here. Paypal came here for the tax breaks knowing that there was a language skill deficit so that is a cost of doing business here.

What’s more the Irish are native speakers of English which is the de facto international Lingua Franca and we will never be very good at foreign langauges as there is no motivation to excel unless Ireland as a society/economy wants to drive down the blind alley of being the worlds Call centre country.

so which of the 19 languages does she want ramped up in secondary education.
Even if the Irish education system responded they’d still hire the Native speaker, not the Irish graduate.
Good luck trying to get Europeans to come to Dundalk so they themselves compounded their problems. I wouldn’t move to Dundalk and I’m from Ireland.

Looking at her CV here I doubt she’d get employed on Paypal’s hotlines as she doesn’t appear to have spent much time out of the country.
I apologise if I’m mistaken. … 26942.html

She’s a bit of a madam, isn’t she.

No one is going to spend 4 years in university trying to build their skills up in a foreign language only to come out and end up working in a call centre for €24k a year with bugger all prospects of improving on that.

If that’s all the relocation package they give them then no wonder they have problems. I was given a month free accomodation, dedicated relocation specialists who took me everywhere I needed to go to set myself up, tax specialists, relocation allowance and paid car hire until the company car arrived.

She also grates with her use of “I” instead of “we”.

She’s hardly looking for very specific skills. Spakein’ de German to some old Frau who’s got locked out of her PayPayl account isn’t rocket science

(I did Leaving Cert German, now I could just about ask directions to the Bahnhof, I picked up another language later and am pretty fluent)

Languages are not a good career choice. I’m watching a friend of mine here who can’t get (any) a decent job even though they are multi-lingual highly qualified translators. Language skills aren’t valued and the jobs that she should be doing are being done by students/interns because Managers don’t respect the skills they built up over the years.

Learn a language? Which one. If you are not an English speaker the answer is obvious. If you are an english speaker then hmmm which one? I’m not far removed from fluency in French but it’s f*ck all use to me in Germany.

Which german? East German, Swiss, the barely intelligible stuff they speak around Mannheim, austrian?

Hochdeutsch, naturellement!

She is being an ass…it really annoys me when highly paid people start banging on about how lucky one should be to have a lowly paid job.

One point though, they will have no difficulty getting Europeans to come to Dundalk, none whatsoever.

Spanish person in the hick end of nowhere has no prospect of picking up work at home. Same goes for Italians, Portuguese, Slovenians, Croats etc etc.


I have German, spent some time in a call-centre in Dublin and it was hideous. Shag all training about the stuff they actually sold - tech stuff which was constantly being updated but was never compatible with older hardware, so clients were livid they had to spend more money. It was boring as hell, very repetitive. Money was poor enough and there’s no real opportunity to get to know your colleagues.

I did it for a couple of months.

But I agree with Madame about the quality of teaching. Having gone on to teach German, I’d say there is a huge problem, HUGE with the failure to require oral proficiency from the off. The Junior Cert oral is the subject of, effectively, a union embargo, so it doesn’t happen, which I think is criminal - shabby and all as the standard would be even if it was in place. Makes senior cycle a nightmare.

But the biggest hindrance to language progress in this country remains the attitudes of parents, who have little real meas on German or French, because they always got by, no matter where they went, on English.

It’s middle-class, progressive parents who value languages in schools, and they don’t want to see their babies in call-centres. They’ll be encouraging Law and German, or European Studies.

Languages aren’t seen as vocational training.

Of course,
I think the point is that these languages can and should be learned in school.

That’s the equivalent of being able to speak the Queen’s English when you are fielding calls from Glasgow and Liverpool. A native English speaker has a chance of understanding, a non-native speaker has no chance.
I remember working in a call centre back in the 90s and seeing the puzzled expression on the pretty faces of the European girls in the call centre when a call from Glasgow was put through to them.

In reality this FF biddy would have us devote billions in our education budget to producing language graduates and she still wouldn’t employ them.

I hate to break it to you but a lot of people in Dundalk have no prospect of a job either. The difference is (1) they don’t have the language skills of the average Spanish person and (2) they can live on welfare here while we import someone else to do the job.

This is something that’s rarely talked about when our politicians and media cream themselves over the thousands of “high-tech” jobs that Google, eBay, Facebook etc bring to Dublin.

  1. Most of these jobs are low-skilled, not high-tech at all. The vast majority of people in Google’s operations here are high-end callcentre, for example (selling Adwords to small businesses, dealing with billing queries etc).

  2. Most of the people are imported. Although the state does gain PAYE, PRSI and of course whatever economic activity they generate while they’re here, they do not do as much as you’d think to lower unemployment.

  3. These jobs could be moved overseas at the drop of a hat. Literally within 30 days we could loose 10k of these “high tech” jobs if a couple of those companies decided it was advantageous.

Languages? That’s very general.
Which one specifically are you betting your kids house on?

Oh are languages very important they say… and I say try to pick one. no obvious one to learn after English. German perhaps but we can’t all learn German.

German is a bit extreme in that respect, I learned Spanish outside of Uni/School but can have a conversation with paletos in Spain

No it’s not. Glasgow and Liverpool are mostly issues of accent, not dialect - which are prevalent in Germany.

Just because grads speak Hochdeutsch, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to understand regional variations/accent. Any more than an Irish person could have a stab at understanding a fella from Ballybunion.

Whatever about German, Dutch and the Nordic languages? WTF, show me any country in Europe that teaches them to spoken fluency? This is such a non-story.

Still, any excuse to put this up…

Thats a very good point…I was just pointing out that they will have no difficulty getting Europeans to come to Dundalk.

But you are right…it is a piss take getting a place to hire 500 people in a town where nobody in the town is qualified to work for them…(although to be fair, I’d guess at least half the staff will be local? no?).