A study of 200 senior IT executives in 16 European countries has found that Ireland has fallen two places in the league table of countries to be the Silicon Valley of Europe. Ireland has dropped from number one position to fall behind Germany and the UK respectively.
The study by Eurocom, a worldwide managed group of public relations firms that includes Ireland’s Simpson FTPR, found that the consensus was that IT manufacturing jobs in Western economies, an area that Ireland traditionally held sway over European competitors for inward investment, are under threat from lower cost regions like China.
Almost two-thirds of respondents (62pc) believe that China will record the highest growth in technology manufacturing jobs over the next three years, far ahead of the US and Western Europe. Other regions likely to benefit at the expense of traditional manufacturing economies are listed as India (17pc) and Eastern Europe (15pc).
“It looks inevitable that we will see a haemorrhage of not only IT manufacturing but IT service jobs to lower cost economies. The future for traditional Western economies appears to be in developing higher value added IT jobs,” explained Ronnie Simpson, managing director of Simpson FTPR.
The study found that Ireland fell from number one spot to third place in terms of perception to be Europe’s tech capital to be gazumped by Germany which is now number one and followed in second place by the UK. Ireland is followed hot on the heels by Finland and Sweden.
“New markets such as China, India and Central & Eastern Europe will also become major tech markets in their own right and potential targets for Irish indigenous IT companies,” added Tom Burgess, founder and CEO of Eurocom PR Worldwide). “As an organisation we have recognised that and have worked hard in the last six months to add our own capabilities in these emerging markets.”
The Eurocom study suggests that recovery in the technology market is imminent and will kick in over the second and third quarters of 2004 – and in some sectors may have already begun. It finds that almost 50pc of respondents believe that recovery will begin in the second (27pc) or third (20pc) quarters of this year. One in three believes that the recovery has already begun.
By John Kennedy