Up to 4,500 jobs unfilled due to skills shortage in IT
UP to 4,500 jobs are currently going unfilled in Ireland, and 10,000 more potential jobs are under threat in the short term, thanks to this country's IT sector skills shortage, a startling new industry report published today has claimed.
The first Irish ICT sector 'Skills Audit Report' by Fast Track to IT (FIT) quantifies for the first time Ireland's lost opportunities in thousands of IT jobs at a time when unemployment rates are hitting 14pc.
The report demonstrates that a sizeable number of Irish-based ICT companies are already constrained in their levels of expansion because they fear that they won't find the candidates to fill the necessary jobs.
FIT is a non-profit organisation set up by the technology sector to liaise between the sector and government/education bodies in order to promote employment within the industry.
Its board includes companies like Microsoft, AOL, CISCO, Paypal, IBM and Siemens, among others.
The 'Skills Audit Report' took into account the views of 38 companies, representing almost all of the large FDI firms based here, but also including a controlled number of SMEs. Between the 38, the firms currently employ more than 25,000 people throughout Ireland.
Crucially, the report includes the first-ever complete inventory of the specific jobs and roles which are in short supply. It details the precise level of demand for candidates throughout 114 specific industry roles.
They include mobile technologies, web development, cloud and virtualisation, software development, games design and project management roles.
"Companies are often reluctant to state that they're having to do this, but unfortunately the reality is that sourcing abroad is increasingly common under current circumstances," said Mr George Ryan, programme manager with FIT.
In response to its own findings the FIT report has called for an "urgent transformation" of Ireland's policy approach, to include:
* A functional workforce development plan for Ireland.
* The complete revision of the outdated National Skills Strategy and the introduction of a framework for its regular review to keep up with the rapid change in the sector.
* The initiation of a dual education system to foster a new "Associate Professional" stream of talent – essentially a system which combines 'coal-face' workplace training with studies.
Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon has described the report as "a very valuable study" for the sector.