12,000 jobs vacancies in Irish ICT sector
Across a wide range of technology disciplines, and at all levels of skill, the 2018 FIT Skills Audit has found there are more than 12,000 current vacancies in the technology sector in Ireland.
According to FIT, technology companies are keen that more people, and especially more women, should be aware that a variety of careers can be pursued in the sector, many of which do not require a third level qualification to start. The ICT skills and training organisation emphasised that there are many routes into the technology sector beyond third level, that require “a blend of technical know, passion for IT and good people skills”.
“Many of the in-demand skillsets for the tech roles on offer can be acquired through further education and training vocational programmes delivered by Ireland’s 16 Education and Trainings Boards (ETBs),” said FIT.
“The Audit highlights that, while there is robust demand in the IT industry for people with third level qualifications, there are currently even more vacancies for people at skills levels that can be attained through tech related programmes at Level 5/6 on the National Framework of Qualifications,” said Peter Davitt, CEO, FIT. “It also demonstrates clearly that the Further Education and Training sector has an increasing role to play in addressing the immediate gap and foreseeable skills needs in Ireland.”
The 2018 audit, conducted from July of 2017 to January of 2018, shows the major job growth in the sector is being driven not just by the expansion of existing IT companies, but also by wider adoption of new technologies, as more companies seek to use them to climb the value chain. Currently, over 130,000 people are now employed in tech related sectors of the economy. More technology companies in Ireland, both foreign and indigenous, the audit finds, are embracing key drivers of change such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud-based technologies, etc. These technologies have potential in all industrial sectors to enhance productivity and performance, the audit report argues.
Since 2011, some 34,500 jobs have been announced by technology companies in Ireland – large and small, indigenous and multinational, said Paul Sweetman, director, Technology Ireland and FIT Board Member.
“The FIT Audit points to an array of skills needed over the coming years. The Audit also supports the emergence of alternative routes into the sector. The ICT Associate Professional Programme Tech Apprenticeship is now seeing real traction and is a solid example of what modern apprenticeships can achieve. Graduates will display robust technical skills coupled with entrepreneurship and business savvy, acquired through direct and sustained work experience. It is an exciting compliment to the current availability of strong courses at third level,” said Sweetman.
Other key finds from the audit were that there is strong demand for ICT practitioners across all disciplines and at different skills levels, with 58% of immediate vacancies for employees able to exercise skills at the competent and entry levels, and 42% at the expert level. Furthermore, demand on the part of SME’s is strong, as well as of large corporations.
Rural and urban growth
ICT jobs have grown in locations across the country, both rural and urban, with many of the vacancies requiring people who are tech savvy and have transferable skills and competencies in areas such as project management, entrepreneurship, marketing and customer service. The audit found that tech sector companies also have many ancillary roles in areas such as logistics, administration, sales and marketing etc.
Somewhat worryingly, the prospect of skills shortages constraining companies’ business plans is growing, says the audit report. This is increasing employer support for the roll-out of the new Tech Apprenticeship and their desire to attract more women into the sector, says FIT.
Tech related roles do not exist just in tech sectors, the audit found, but have emerged in practically every sector of the economy as new and emerging ICT technologies are having a positive impact on productivity, efficiency and effectiveness in sectors from agriculture to medicine.
Communications and problem-solving were voted first and second most important attributes with regard to transferable skills and professional development, the audit found.
“All technology has a purpose,” the audit report concludes. “It is as important at the regional level as at the national level that stakeholders in economic development appreciate how changes in ICT offer opportunities, as well as threats, to their location’s value proposition.
“An integral part of making the national economy and regional economies receptive to advanced technologies will be communicating clearly the enormous potential of the new ICT to improving our lives as consumers, our well-being, as well as the health of our society and planet e.g., speeding up the diagnosis and management of illness, protecting the environment, recycling waste, generating green energy and efficiencies, enhancing control over their lives for the elderly and people with disabilities, widening access to life-long learning, etc.”