There are 700,000 unfilled ICT jobs across Europe, Ireland’s Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, TD, told EU ministers at a meeting in Dublin today.
The vacant jobs exist at a time when tackling massive unemployment is a major issue in most European countries and one of the top priorities of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Jobs growth in the ICT sector is forecast to run at 7.6pc over the next decade, more than double the overall rate of job creation forecast.
In Dublin over the past two days, employment ministers agreed that ensuring adequate skills supply to fill vacancies in the ICT sector will be a crucial part of growing jobs in the EU.
They also discussed lessons from national initiatives taken in the ICT skills area, as well as specific case studies, including measures taken in Ireland under the ICT Action Plan jointly launched by Bruton with Education Minister Ruairí Quinn in January 2012 as part of the Action Plan for Jobs.
“In recent years, through the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work initiatives, we have made significant changes to the Irish economy to support job creation. Many of the challenges we have faced in Ireland are common across the EU, such as the ICT skills gap.
“Skills mismatches in the EU have increased markedly during the crisis. We need to strengthen co-operation on existing community policies, instruments and processes so as to enable Member States to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their national skills systems, benchmark them internationally and develop policies to transform better skills into better jobs,” Bruton said.
At the Future Jobs Forum in Dublin prior to the meeting of EU ministers today, Bruton said Europe’s ICT industry is facing a crisis in that European universities are producing only 114,000 ICT graduates a year.
Bruton said a key facet of Ireland’s response would be seeking greater efficiencies in allowing overseas skilled workers to obtain work permits to satisfy the skills requirements of the ICT giants based in Ireland.
He said the number of work permits for skilled workers will rise by 700 in 2013, bringing the number of work permits to be allotted in 2013 to 1,900.