‘There’s every job you can think of’: Dublin Airport jobs fair hoping to help careers take off

Busy start to jobs fair as DAA, other employers seek to keep pace with growing passenger numbers

Their most pressing need just now might be for an experienced drone catcher but the list of other roles up for grabs out at Dublin Airport seems fairly endless as Siobhán Winters, Head of Talent Acquisition for DAA, lists them in advance of the company’s latest recruitment fair on Friday afternoon.

There are the many, and much publicised security roles, plus cleaning and other front of house operations jobs. Much of the airport’s retail, meanwhile, comes under Aer Rianta, she says, and they are here at the Radisson Hotel hiring too. But then there are a fair few more specialised roles like planners, accountants, senior project managers.

“The first role I looked at after starting was dog handler,” says ones of her colleagues, Julianne Bollard. “It’s like a mini city out here. There’s every job you can think of.”

Around 20,000 people work on the airport campus overall with 3,000 or so employed by DAA, two thirds of those in front of house roles. The fairs have become an important part of recruitment, particularly over the past year or so as the airport operator and many of the companies with a presence there battle to keep pace with the upsurge in business that has accompanied the post-pandemic return of passengers. In the large function room a few feet away where stands are still being set up, there are bus car hire agencies, catering and logistics firms along with agencies who will place people across all sectors.


By 2pm, when the doors open, there is a large crowd waiting to get in and within minutes a good portion of them are queuing to register their interest in security work. “We’re getting back to being well staffed,” says Ms Winters, “but it’s still an area where we are looking to recruit quite a few people and people are attracted by the training and qualification that are on offer”.

Pay rates around the room start at not far above minimum wage although there seems to be quite a few entry level positions set at a couple of euro an hour higher. Someone starting in security will initially be on €15.34.

Those present, however, are generally keen to emphasis that there are some perks too and potential for progression after probation periods are completed. Heavily subsidised meals commonly feature while DAA and Aer Rianta offer a €300 travel voucher each year and others are seeking to make the early morning starts a little less daunting by running buses to pick their staff up. For some, everyone acknowledges, the 24/7 nature of the place is a challenge but for others, they insist, it presents opportunities.

Angelina Kelly of Aer Rianta (ARI) says they are looking for around 30 staff of the day after a successful fair in November. “We were really surprised with how well that went and with the calibre of the people we got out of the event.” For those who are really keen after they have settled in, “the world is their oyster,” she says, with openings in the company’s many operations abroad there to be applied for.

Quite a few, though, are fairly new to Ireland and are looking for part-time hours with many among the generally young and hugely ethnically diverse crowd holding visas that allow them to work up to 20 hours a week through most of the year. “It’s something we are looking to cater to more now,” says Ms Winters. “We’re offering an 18 and a half-hour contracts and catering to people, including students, who can only work Saturdays and Sundays. The hope is that some of those hired now will extend their hours when the summer rush arrives and so help to avoid a repeat of the chaos experienced at times during the last peak season.

There are also part-time customer service roles with Aircoach but the company’s Craig Virco says there are opportunities too for applicants with an ordinary licence to train up, qualify and eventually earn up to €43,000 driving as the firm seeks to expand again after Covid prompted a reduction in services. The company is looking for around 20 drivers and says the last fair, which attracted almost 1,000 jobseekers, yielded a few who are just settling into the roles now.

An hour in and Ms Winters reckons the attendance is already on course to surpass that this time around. The event continues on Saturday morning with details available on dublinairport.com.

Anna Waters

“I’m looking for a bit of part-time work. I’m a mum and looking for something with a little bit of work-life balance. I worked at the airport for a long time (with Aer Lingus) and I thought it might be difficult because a lot of the jobs start at 3am or 4am but I’ve found today that quite a lot of the companies, particularly in hospitality, have changed, they’re facilitating mams and stuff like that a bit more, which is great. They’re trying to get people back in. My background is in hospitality, and I have an interview already so today has turned out pretty well actually.”

Paulo Nuoye

“I’ve worked in hospitality for 20 years and I’m here looking for something that gives me the chance to upskill. I’d be interested in hospitality here too, if there was the opportunity to do other things and train and I have spoken to people at a few of the stands about it but I’m also applying for security, there is the chance to get qualifications and go on to other things, I think maybe you could become a guard or other things from that. A lot of the jobs start early but the moment, I get up at 3am each day so starting here at 4am or 5am is not a problem for me.”

Sigrid Glynn

“I’m looking for a part-time job in admin ... well, anything really. I’ve been speaking to quite a few people on the stalls and they’ve been really, really nice so I’m going to be going off now and applying for a few things online. I’m going to get something back from one of the companies I was talking to next week and I was talking to someone about security as well so I’m confident of getting something. I’ve no transport myself but where I live there’s an airport bus so I don’t think that side of things would be too much of a problem.”

Shapor Shafie

“I worked in the airport before, I had a six-month contract and I really liked the environment. It’s always lively, there are always new people so I’m hoping to come back. Some of the jobs I’ve tried to apply for, they are asking for me to be in there at four o’clock and that’s not possible for me because where I live in north county Dublin there is no bus or other transports to get there at that time. I think my first bus is at six but I’m still hopeful of getting something in the duty free area, maybe in customer service.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times