Warning that 12,000 ICT jobs may go unfilled in Ireland

10 Apr 2019

Dublin. Image: © Patryk Kosmider/Stock.adobe.com

Growing digital skills crisis could threaten Ireland’s economic growth in the long term.

Ireland needs to double down on investing in training and skills development to offset the impact of automation, which could potentially put 46,000 traditional jobs at risk in the years ahead.

Currently, according to a new white paper – ‘The Digital Skills Crisis – Time to Act’ – published by Code Institute, there are 12,000 ICT jobs that haven’t been filled yet because the skills aren’t there, and these roles may go unfilled for the next two years.

This is impacting the overall operating performance of companies.

‘The worldwide shortage of ICT talent that is threatening employment growth across the globe is also a significant issue here in Ireland’

This chicken-and-egg situation amounts to what Code Institute warns is a skills crisis, and this is likely to have a major impact on the country’s growth prospects in the coming years.

“The worldwide shortage of ICT talent that is threatening employment growth across the globe is also a significant issue here in Ireland,” Code Institute CEO Jim Cassidy said. “Over the next two years an expected 12,000 jobs are to go unfilled in the Irish ICT sector, which will have a direct knock-on impact on productivity and growth.”

The digitalisation of education

Cassidy said that because of funding shortfalls, many traditional education providers in Ireland are struggling to meet the level of demand for digitally literate graduates.

According to the European Commission, Ireland currently has one of the lowest levels of basic digital skills in the EU. With nine out of 10 jobs requiring digital skills in future, the white paper makes it clear that significant Government investment in the digitalisation of education is required.

Underlining the need for more investment is the Government’s own report, ‘Digital Transformation: Assessing the Impact of Digitalisation on Ireland’s Workforce’, which warns that 46,000 hypothetical jobs are at risk due to automation.

However, the Code Institute’s white paper argues that these losses can be avoided with proper planning and digital upskilling of the workforce, so that even more jobs can be created.

The role of industry is also critical but what employees have been offered in terms of training has so far been far from satisfactory.

The Code Institute report found that while 66pc of people have been offered training in their job, the vast majority (60pc) found what was offered to be less than good. A slight majority (53pc) said they would move to another role if better training was offered, while a majority (60pc) have had to use their own money to advance their learning and training.

Cassidy urged companies to develop a learning and development (L&D) model that offers adequate and frequent skills training to all members of staff as a way of addressing the impact of change.

“We actively work with HR and L&D departments to provide the right digital talent. Whether it’s developing a digital talent strategy, offering a line of sight to some of the best new developers or upskilling existing staff within your company, there are simple, cost-effective ways to bridge the gap,” Cassidy said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years