More than half (52pc) of employers in Ireland are struggling to hire IT staff and 84pc say they would be open to hiring a person with a non-IT background who has completed a conversion course, new research from Hays reveals.
The survey’s results must concentrate the minds of thousands of out-of-work graduates who may be eligible for conversion courses. At present, there are 5,000 job vacancies in the IT sector in Ireland alone and it emerged recently that IDA Ireland could have brought in an additional 13,000 IT jobs had the skills been available.
ICT Ireland last year launched a fully funded master’s in applied software technology from Dublin Institute of Technology, which includes a guaranteed job in Ireland’s high-tech sector on satisfactory completion.
"Half of the survey’s employers are having difficulty hiring as there is a dearth of highly-skilled IT talent, not only in Ireland, but worldwide," said James Milligan, business director for Hays IT.
“The reason the other half of the respondents aren’t having the same challenges is because they most likely outsource their highly technical requirements.
“General IT managers or support staff for hardware and minor software issues are a lot easier to come by," Milligan explained.
What non-IT backgrounds IT employers favour
The Hays survey revealed that 82pc of employers would take into consideration a candidate’s previous education and work experience prior to the conversion course.
The most sought-after professions are engineering (75pc) and accounting and finance (70pc). Politics was the least desirable at 10pc. Both arts and manual labour were more popular, with each receiving 19pc of votes.
One in four employers said they would consider hiring someone without a third-level education.
“This is great news for the providers of IT skills conversion courses across the country and more importantly, for job seekers," Milligan added.
“However, we need to raise the profile of these courses as only 4pct of the employers surveyed were able to list any of the 17 courses available."
EMEA shared service centres, IT consultancy and the financial services sectors are the areas where skills are most in demand. Typically, the shared service centres are hiring for first and second line IT support jobs with English and a second European language.
The consultancies are seeking Java, .Net and Oracle developers, as well as experienced project and programme managers. While the financial services sector is seeing demand for developers, testers and business analysts.
Many of these vacancies are being filled by contractors as companies are unable to source permanent candidates.
Some organisations are looking overseas for these skills in permanent hires, in places like Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean countries and increasingly India.
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