ICS news and events: September 2018
13 September 2018 | 0
Ireland well placed as a centre of excellence in IT as strong growth in many areas continues
Ireland has an international reputation as a centre of excellence in IT. Both multinationals and home-grown talent contribute to making technology one of the fastest growing industries in the country.
This makes Ireland the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world, with over 97% of domestic production being sold in international markets. IT products and services account for over €50 billion of exports from Ireland each year.
With such strong figures and a wide range of big players in ICT based in Ireland today, what does the future look like for IT in Ireland? What are the key factors we need to keep an eye on to maintain our position as the European Silicon Valley?
In 2016 there were over 81,000 ICT professionals employed in Ireland. Of these, it is estimated that 68% work in the broad ICT sector and a significant 32% of the total in other sectors.
Tom O’Sullivan, deputy CEO of the Irish Computer Society says: “The demand for IT professionals now reaches across all sectors and comes from companies working in every industry in Ireland.
“Data from the 2018 Expert Group for Future Skills Needs survey conducted indicates 5.2% of vacancies for computing skills and 6.9% for electronic and electrical engineering were left unfilled. This means we’ll need over 85,000 IT professionals this year.
“If this demand continues as expected, the 2018 Expert Group for Future Skills Needs has predicted a shortfall in ICT skills of up to 146,000 people within the next four years.
“It’s vital for us to address the skills gap with quality training and education at all levels to be able to develop home-grown talent. We welcome the introduction of computing into the Leaving Certificate and encourage employers to invest in training their staff as a top priority. At the same time, the demand for IT professionals to fill vacancies immediately is high, so we need to maintain a welcoming environment for the best and brightest from across the world to be able to take up these roles in Ireland.”
The “ICT Skills Action Plan, 2014‐2018” predicted demand for ICT to grow at 7.2% over the period. In fact, the report found that employment grew at a higher rate of 8.4-9%. ICT employment permits for non-EEA nationals grew by over 30% during the same period.
According to EU figures, Ireland’s growth is forecast to come in at 5.7 in 2018 and 4.1% in 2019.
The public’s demand for cloud computing products and solutions keeps growing year on year and is expected to form the basis for market demand going forward, according to the ITA Cloud Computing Top Markets Report. Industry analysts even expect a 40% annual growth in cloud computing in Ireland over the next few years.
Aside from cloud computing, the focus for strong growth in IT will be mainly in software and emerging technologies, such as cognitive systems and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality and next generation security.
Annual expenditure in Ireland on software for organisations has now reached €258 million. Spending on network storage software is around €62 million alone, while the security software market is estimated at €124 million.
Public Sector IT Procurement
In 2018, government IT spending shows signs of significant growth across a variety of ministries.
Capital expenditure (including ICT) increased for the Defence Forces to €77 million. The education sector has received a significant boost to upgrade ICT infrastructure in all schools by 2021 as part of the €210 million digital technology investment in schools.
An additional €4 million has been allocated to the Revenue Commissioners to enhance their capacity for data matching and data analytics. This would also go towards improving tax compliance for online start-ups and eCommerce businesses. Budget has also been made available to facilitate the ongoing modernisation of the Passport Service and enhanced ICT systems.
€3 million has been allocated to IT development for PAYE Modernisation, the project represents the most significant reform of the administration of the PAYE system in over fifty years.
Capital allocation for An Garda Síochána will continue to facilitate the significant ongoing programme of investment in ICT modernisation to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of policing services.
In 2017, ICT allocation for the HSE increased to €55 million as it continues to try and modernise its IT systems and implement an Electronic Health Record system.
Access to European and overseas markets
Ireland continues to offer a proven gateway to the lucrative European software market for overseas software SMEs. Ireland has a long history of collaboration with foreign software organisations, particularly from the US and the UK. This position is likely to be strengthened following Brexit.
At the same time, Irish software exporters remain interested in developing joint venture/licensing agreements with technology partners from abroad. The Irish software sector is well-placed for export and offers a range of innovative and leading-edge software products, particularly from SMEs.
Growth is strongest in accounting, procurement, project management and manufacturing software as well as cybersecurity, financial, healthcare, energy, telecom and cloud computing software.
Maintaining the success
“In order to keep our place as a centre of excellence in IT, we need to keep a laser focus on a number of key factors. Namely, improving access to modern, quality education and training to try and keep up with the increasing need for high-quality skills and innovations in IT. This demand cuts across all sectors and the economy as a whole will continue to benefit if we can meet the demand from the public and overseas for quality Irish software,” said O’Sullivan.
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