Irish people make ideal employees: NASA

By Joyce Fegan

According to the organisation's chief human capital officer Robert Gibbs, who was speaking in Dublin, Irish people possess several traits that make them ideal NASA employees.

"I think there are a lot of traits, this is very stereotypical of me from my experience, but I've always found my friends from Ireland to be creative, to be able to adapt to change and respond to hard times and keep a sense of humour about it while keep moving forward.

"Those are all traits that any organisation, not just NASA, any high-performing organisation would seek to have," Mr Gibbs said.

NASA's current mission is to have a "sustained presence" on the moon, growing food there and then head to Mars.

In order to be an astronaut with NASA, you and about 20,000 people would apply for the space course, which typically has 12 places on each sitting.

Mr Gibbs also described the traits they look for in a person who might become an astronaut.

"You look for intellectual rigour. You look for folks who are smart and who can adapt to change. You look for folks who can respond appropriately in times of crisis. You look for those who have a bias towards action.

"You're not necessarily looking for the 4.0 (highest grade) student from the best school, but maybe the 3.6 kid from a grade school who took apart their toaster when they were younger," he said.

For Irish people looking to work for NASA, he said they hire 1,000 employees annually and their contractors hire "two to three times that" annually as well.

Mr Gibbs, who was speaking at the Talent Summit by Sigmar Recruitment, also said there are more opportunities for people of all nationalities to be an astronaut, because of private companies working in the space industry.

For an Irish person specifically, Mr Gibbs said: "If I was sitting in Ireland and telling a young student who was interested in science and mathematics, make sure you take all of the hard core courses, physics and calculus (maths)."

Most Read in Business