Technology firms are struggling to find skilled graduates for 2,500 posts
THERE are thousands of technology jobs available here that can't be filled because Irish people don't have the required skills, according to the head of Microsoft Ireland.
Cathriona Hallahan said companies were currently struggling to fill 2,500 positions. The vast majority of these could be taken up by Irish people – and graduates in particular – if they had the right skills set.
Speaking at a Microsoft conference in Dublin, Ms Hallahan said there were serious issues with the quality of graduates coming through today.
She continued: "Youth unemployment is a big challenge. It is vitally important that we all do what we can, so young people have a future in Ireland.
"The tech sector needs them and arguably companies of all sectors could use them in IT departments and change-management schemes.
"However, there is a gap in the qualifications they have and there are open roles in the IT sector en masse.
"Counting conservatively, we have 2,500 vacancies in the industry but don't have the skills to match those jobs.
"When they come out of third or fourth level, young people must have an opportunity to contribute to society.
"We don't want them to keep heading overseas. There are opportunities here for them, and we need their talent, skills and energy."
Ms Hallahan's words echo comments from various multinationals here. Google's Irish head John Herlihy has bemoaned the skills gap that graduates display when they emerge from university, while PayPal boss Louise Phelan has questioned the attitude of graduates when they enter the workplace.
However, Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said: "There is a global shortage of skilled ICT workers affecting the industry worldwide, including the US."
He added: "Every high-level ICT job created leads to an additional four or five jobs elsewhere in the economy. Delivering skills and continued jobs growth in this sector is a key part of the Government's employment strategy."
Ms Hallahan's words came as a new survey from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley showed that professional vacancies in Ireland rose by 9pc last month.
The latest Irish Employment Monitor from the firm showed the number of professional or white-collar jobs advertised in April rose to 8,854.
Morgan McKinley's chief operating office Karen O'Flaherty said the increase was "welcome" after two months of decreases.
She added: "There is significant hiring activity being generated by multinationals and companies that are export-led, particularly in the consumer goods, technology, manufacturing and food industries."