While the IT industry is thriving in spite of the recession, a lack of experienced Irish graduates has forced recruitment company Software Placements to look to Europe to fill vacancies, said Michéal O Maoldomhnaigh, director of Software Placements.
“Demand is highest for mid-level candidates with three to five years’ experience and that demand is nationwide, from Galway to Shannon, Limerick, Dublin and Belfast,” he said.
O Maoldomhnaigh said 38pc of placements made by the company in 2011 were non-Irish candidates and it has more roles on offer than applicants for them.
“This is a significant proportion of the placements we made. Of these, 55pc were Romanian, with the remainder made up of Italians (25pc), Portuguese (10pc) and Spanish (10pc),” he said.
Both O Maoldomhnaigh and business partner Michael Brennan believe the shortage of Irish candidates is due to the effect the dot-com bubble burst had on the IT industry in the early 2000s and the Ireland’s focus on property and construction during the economic boom.
“The dot-com bubble burst in 2001 and that had a negative effect on Leaving Cert students’ view of the IT industry,” said O Maoldomhnaigh
“The subsequent property boom drew students towards related professional courses. Now we are finding there is simply a shortage of suitably qualified and experienced Irish candidates to meet the demand currently in the industry.
“Looking at the bigger picture, if, as a country, we want to capitalise on this demand, course providers need to work more closely with the IT industry to create courses that will produce the type of graduates that these companies need,” he said.
O Maoldomhnaigh also urged the need to improve maths standards, particularly for the gaming, trading and financial services sectors within IT, where the recruitment firm has seen ‘huge demand’ for candidates.