IT sector struggling to fill 5,000 vacancies

DESPITE the record number of people signing on, there are up to 5,000 vacancies in the IT sector.

The lack of women and the “nerdy image” associated with computing is forcing companies to hire foreign graduates to fill gaps in the workplace, according to the Third Level Computing Forum.

The forum, made up of heads of computer college departments, government agencies and representatives in the industry, said up to 50% of hires in software companies in the Dublin area were coming from abroad.

A report by the forum sets out a plan to boost recruitment in Ireland. Its author, and retired Dublin City University professor, Michael Ryan explained: “Recruitment websites are currently showing anything up to 5,000 job vacancies in the IT sector and while the real figure may be way less than that, we are certainly looking at a huge number of unfilled posts. Given the jobs crisis that we appear to be descending into, it will come as a huge shock to people to think that there are thousands of jobs available in a sector that provides secure and well-paid employment.”

The forum wants:

nA campaign to highlight career prospects in the industry and to dispel the ‘nerdy image’.

nTo attract more women to study the subject.

nProper supports for teacher training to introduce courses into the second-level curriculum.

“As other parts of the Irish economy suffer, the software sector continues to prosper, with demand for graduates in computing and related disciplines greater than the supply. This is unacceptable, not least in the context of a severe economic downturn,” added Prof Ryan.

The forum notes that the US has a similar problem with expertise in computing. It also says the numbers in Ireland studying computing has not recovered since the dot.com collapse.

The forum predicts a shortfall of up to 3,000 computing graduates per annum in the IT sector in the coming years.


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