Thursday 23 May 2019

Calling all multilingual IT whizzes: skills shortage hits firms

EVERY year, the Government's Expert Group on Future Skills Needs publishes a snapshot of the supply and demand of skills in Ireland.

The latest report, published earlier this summer, shows that there were over a million movements of individuals between employment, unemployment and inactivity in 2012, including frequent changes of both occupations and employers right across the skills levels.

This points to the flexibility of the Irish labour market and opportunities for jobseekers, but also to the difficulties facing lower skilled people in securing sustainable employment.

In 2012, the information and computer technology field was the strongest segment of the Irish labour market. The report found that the demand for ICT skills was illustrated in a large number of vacancies, which spanned managerial, professional, technician, skilled trades and sales roles.

Other shortages also tend to be confined to niche skill areas and in most instances remain relatively rare; this year's bulletin highlights the persistence of skills shortages in hi-tech manufacturing (especially bio-pharma and medical devices), agrifood, sales, marketing, business, finance and healthcare.

Multilingual skills are a key aspect of some of these shortages. For example, shortages of multilingual IT technicians, finance accounts managers, marketing associate professionals, financial administrators and some supply chain-related occupations exist.

The report also highlighted a continuing emphasis by employers on the importance of work experience.

Recruiters are not only looking for appropriately qualified staff but also employability skills gained through work placements.

Language skills were a prerequisite for many newly advertised vacancies, particularly in sales and customer care, but also for engineering and finance.


Languages that were in particular demand included German but also French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.

Particular shortages included software developers with experience of the web, cloud, mobile, database, games, data analytics, customer relations, project management, user support, network security and troubleshooting. Engineering skills in demand included tool design, polymer technology, process engineering, quality control, validation along with mechanical, electrical and electronic knowledge.

Food science skills include research and development and lab technicians.

In the business world, in-demand skills included purchasing, marketing, sales, business analysis. The financial world is short of people with knowledge of regulatory compliance, accounting, multilingual technicians, fraud experts and credit control.

The health sector, meanwhile, is looking for non-consultant-level hospital doctors, nurses with intensive care and geriatric skills or oncology or theatre experience.

One of the last sectors to experience shortages is sales, where there is a lack of technical and multilingual sales people as well as those with experience in online sales and marketing.

Multilingual skills are also in short supply among clerical types as well as knowledge of accounts and, in a sad sign of the times, debt collection.

Irish Independent

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