‘Severe’ ICT skills shortage highlighted by 4,500 vacancies

The significant level of job vacancies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector highlights a “severe” shortage of suitably skilled applicants in the Irish workforce, a new study has warned.

In its ‘ICT Skills Audit’, the non-profit training promotion agency, Fastrack to IT (FIT), estimates that there are 4,500 vacancies in Ireland’s ICT sector. These are not being filled, because of “the severely limited supply of suitably skilled applicants”. The study, based on a survey of 38 IT multinationals and SMEs, shows that many of the vacancies are at the intermediate-skills level, and could be filled after training programmes of six to 24 months.

“We have been increasingly concerned at the growing skill shortages in the sector, while recognising an increasing, and untapped, opportunity to create a talent pipeline comprising of those job-seekers with transferable skills from declining sectors,” FIT’s chief executive, Peter Davitt, said.

While not suggesting that the skills shortage threatens foreign-direct-investment (FDI) levels, FIT says investment in Ireland would increase, “if the country possessed more skilled candidates for employment”.

Speaking at yesterday’s report launch, Minister for Training and Skills, Ciaran Cannon, said that the Government had identified ICT jobs as a “key focus area” within the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, and that work was underway to build “the pipeline of high-level ICT graduates”.

“Both multinational and Irish-based technology firms are a valued source of employment and future growth. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that the staffing requirements of IT can be substantially met locally, and that Ireland continues to nurture an increasingly skilled labour force to accommodate greater foreign direct investment within the technology, and related, sectors,” he said.

FIT — which works with government departments and national education and training agencies, and has representatives of many leading IT companies and industry bodies (including Siemens, eBay, EMC, Cisco, Ibec, Microsoft and Skillsoft) on its board — runs courses enabling people to re-skill. It’s on target to “engage” 30,000 people through its training “interventions” over the next three years.

The sectors with most job vacancies include digital/creative media, contact centre support, games development, cloud computing, PC maintenance and mobile technologies.

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