We need to attract highly skilled workers for growth
Despite high unemployment, there are parts of the economy crying out for skilled workers, with the problem particularly acute in the technology sectors.
According to new research from ICT Ireland, tech companies in Ireland currently have over 700 vacancies for senior engineering and technology jobs.
The research tells us that it often takes companies well over three months to fill vacancies for these senior positions and even longer for those needing work permits.
And 83pc of the companies surveyed say they would like to see quicker processing of visas for skilled IT workers and 69pc want improved clarity around the requirements for work permits and visas.
Clearly, we need to make it easier for companies to get the skilled workers they need, focusing on top international talent. While a renewed focus on education and re-training is important for fostering home-grown expertise, it will not be sufficient to meet the demand, especially in the short term.
Entrepreneur Sean O'Sullivan (right), a judge on 'Dragons' Den', has suggested that we target technology graduates from the world's top 250 universities and give them an automatic entitlement to work in Ireland. It's a good idea and one that could be expanded to include the introduction of a new hi-tech visa to make it easier for skilled workers to come to Ireland.
The Government should also reform the visa regime for spouses so that they can work while here.
Our marginal personal tax rate is now very high by international standards and represents a major challenge to Ireland's attractiveness to mobile talent for a career.
The Special Assignee Relief Programme should be broadened to include new recruits.
These highly skilled professionals, known as 'anchor people', build teams of dozens in supporting activity.
If we can be creative and flexible, we will become a much more attractive place for businesses to locate and expand.