ICT skills shortage needs returning women
The ICT sector in Ireland will require more than 70,000 new workers over the next five years, with new graduates expected to fill only half of those positions.
According to Technology Ireland Software Skillnet, a key strategy to provide these workers will be women returning to the workforce.
“For the tech sector the value proposition is clear,” said Paul Healy, chief executive, Skillnet Ireland. “This pool of qualified and experienced women can help alleviate the current skills shortage, but also help address the gender imbalance in the sector. The key to enabling talented women re-join the workforce is through an integrated approach with employers and placing skills development, business competency and sectoral knowledge at the forefront.”
To support women returning to the workforce to develop ICT careers, Skillnet Ireland has developed the Women ReBOOT programme, which provides women with skills and experience to return to work after a career break, by updating technology and professional skills, building confidence and facilitating paid work placements with technology firms.
Only 17% of ICT professionals are female, according to Skillnet Ireland, and a further attrition of around 40% in mid-career means that the sector is losing valuable female talent.
Speaking at the ReBOOT graduation of the latest group of 26 women, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD said there is an acknowledged and untapped potential in women who are returning to the workforce after a career break in the technology sector.
“The Technology Ireland Software Skillnet Women ReBOOT programme is an excellent way to support women who are returning to work, as well as reducing the growing skills gap in the technology industry in Ireland. The impact of such programmes is clearly evidenced in better outcomes for both employers and the women who engage with these supports,” said Minister Stanton.
“Women ReBOOT is a bridge between women and technology employers,” said Maire Hunt, network director, Technology Ireland Software Skillnet. “which provides the opportunity for women to recommence their careers and opens a new stream of talent for tech employers. The programme recognises the wide range of competencies women develop both within and outside the workforce and integrates that with updated knowledge of technology.”
“Now on its fourth cohort, we’ve seen 80% of women participants securing immediate employment in the tech sector as software engineers, project managers, scrum masters, technical support engineers and roles in QA and testing.”
Skillnet Ireland said there are plans to expand the ReBOOT programmes to support the progression of women already in the sector towards leadership roles, to conduct research on women in technology in Ireland, and to create a new Women Technology Leaders forum bringing together top tech employers in a new think tank.
Funding from Skillnet Ireland will enable a further 100 female technology professionals to re-join the sector and take part in professional development within the sector this year.
For more information about the Women ReBOOT programme, visit www.womenreboot.ie