Zendesk, a software as a service (SAAS) company that specialises in helping companies’ customer care operations, announced earlier this year that they will be creating 300 new jobs at their Dublin offices.

The company was founded in Copenhagen 10 years ago and has grown massively since then. With six products and over 100,000 customers worldwide, it has come a long way.

“The initial concept was making life easier for customer support engineers,” says Colum Twomey, Zendesk Vice President. “We developed a customer support platform, a software as a service product, and that’s where we came from. Since then we’ve developed more products and addressed a broader market.”

Zendesk now offers a voice channel product, chat services, data analytics products, content management products and a number of others, though their customer support product is still their main one. “All of these products are integrated to make it much easier to address all of those customer support needs,” Twomey said.

the workforce here makes Dublin the best place for Zendesk to move forward

Zendesk operate with all manner of companies, large and small around the world. This is why they have offices across Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States. Zendesk set up offices in Dublin 5 years ago and currently have around 200 staff here. Over the next three years they will add a further 300 to that.

“In 2012 we set up the development and engineering centre here. At that time it was very difficult to do that,” he said. “We had to hire top talent here, while our headquarters were in San Francisco. The competition there is so challenging. Then we opened the offices in Copenhagen but we didn’t feel we were finding the right people we needed to grow. That’s when we came to Dublin.”

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald with Colum Twomey of Zendesk and Martin Shanahan of the IDA

Although Dublin was initially set up as a development centre, Twomey said they knew that it would eventually become the new headquarters.

“We started off with an engineering team, but we do all our mobile development here now too, we have a support team and a sales team as well. So there’s a wide variety of activities here and that’s grown to about 200 people here over the last four or five years,” Twomey said.

Dublin is definitely a tech hub within Europe

As a software company, Twomey said it’s always a challenge recruiting. “You need to be strategic about it and have a long term plan,” he said. “We recruit locally as well as all over the EU, so we get a great mix of nationalities and backgrounds.” He added that Dublin is an attractive place for other nationalities to come and work, with Zendesk employing about 50 different nationalities in their Dublin offices. “We look for very specific skills which aren’t all available here, but we have a great recruitment team here who do our recruitment for Dublin, Copenhagen and Montpellier. So we recruit globally for our positions all over the world.”

As one of the main tech hubs in Europe, Twomey said the workforce here makes Dublin the best place for Zendesk to move forward.

“Based on the success we’ve had in finding the people we need in the right time frame, we’ve doubled down on the investment we have here in Ireland and we really feel like Dublin is the right place for us to continue to grow,” he said.

Dublin is becoming an increasingly popular place for start ups to base themselves in, and many foreign companies are making their way over too.

“Dublin is definitely a tech hub within Europe, and we do a lot of work with start ups. The tech boom here definitely gives Dublin and Ireland a reputation, which makes it a lot easier for us to attract talent from all over Europe. A lot of people want to come to Dublin and work for a year or two and get experience and work on their English, and we tap into that market,” he said. “So the fact that Dublin is so attractive from that perspective, it certainly helps our marketing and the position that we have.”

There’s a culture of respect, and we provide a good working environment

The 300 new jobs will be varied, Twomey said. “They’ll be in line with the existing roles we have now. About 40 per cent of what we do here is engineering, so a lot of those roles will be in developing,” he said. “But we do have roles in QA focus, designers, product, programming and engineering managers, so it’s a wider team involved in developing products.”

He noted that people with experience in Ruby On Rails and Java coding, as well as those with experience in big data will also be useful.

“Thirty per cent of our staff here are in sales, so we’ll also be looking for that, and on the support side of things, we’ll look for people with European language skills as well,” he added.

There’s quite a unique culture at Zendesk, Twomey said. “There’s a culture of respect, and we provide a good working environment. Everyone has latitude to work the way they want to work. The most important thing for me is that employees are really interested in their work. That attracts and retains talent. We have very low attrition here and I put that down to the fact that these guys are building products from scratch and have full ownership of that from entering the marketplace right down to the revenue,” he said.

To learn more about Zendesk and their expansion in Dublin, visit zendesk.com

Patrick studied English, Media and Cultural Studies and now works as a freelance journalist. He writes about social and cultural issues, football and a bit of technology, as well as some fiction. He's confused by the world but finds solace in the smooth rhythms of Marvin Gaye.

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