IT skills gap
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85pc of Irish professionals don’t have sufficient IT skills

28 Jun 2017

A new survey of 1,000 people showed that less than 20pc had entry-level technical competency.

When it comes to skills in the tech sector, there are a few things at play.

First, the advancements of technology, data mining and machine learning are all putting a much higher demand on companies to hire people with stronger IT skills than ever before.

Secondly, education can only do its best to catch up and, when it does, standard education can only narrow the skills gap by way of bringing highly skilled graduates into the professional world.

This means that those already in the industries are left by the wayside when it comes to their own skills gap, adding to the overall industry-wide chasm.

So how much are Irish professionals lacking when it comes to IT skills? A new survey from Code Institute has provided some frightening results.

The survey asked participants to carry out a diagnostic test, which included 10 entry-level technical questions. It evaluated whether participants’ IT skills and knowledge were up to date for the modern workplace.

Startlingly, 85pc of Irish professionals failed to show a sufficient level of technical competency, with 40pc of survey respondents falling below the 50pc pass mark.

With such a high level of Irish professionals lacking in the necessary IT skills, it’s no surprise that the tech skills gap is a long way off from improving.

Not only is this dangerous for the professionals in terms of their career growth, it’s bad news for the companies, too. There are already free ICT courses out there for employees to avail of, but companies need to do more to rectify this dramatic skills shortage.

Jim Cassidy, CEO of Code Institute, said that organisations need to realise how much it affects them and do something about it.

“Companies need to be able to adapt to changes in their market; to have the skills to identify technological threats and opportunities, and, with under-skilled managers and employees, that will be a struggle.”

Broken down by industry, some of the better-performing sectors were marketing and finance, with insurance falling under the poor-performance category.

Cassidy said that Irish companies can rectify the problem by upskilling their staff. “Since technology plays an increasingly significant part in our working lives, it’s now more important than ever to know how to harness the power of IT,” he said.

“If Ireland is to continue its upward trajectory, every aspect of its business should be competitive – including its staff.”

Under-skilled staff is not the only problem here. In fact, the shortage of tech skills also hinders companies when it comes to implementing digital initiatives that would help them move with the times.

Earlier this year, another survey of Ireland by KingramRed found that 60pc of Irish organisations have no vision for their success in the digital world, and 65pc of them are unhappy with their progress in staff engagement to affect digital change.

However, a lack of tech skills was deemed the number one barrier when it came to the ability to move forward with digital change.

“Ireland’s economy has been the fastest-growing in Europe for four years in a row,” said Cassidy. “With the right attitude to training, technology and modern business, we can maintain this momentum.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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