While Ireland slowly goes about making itself an amenable location for overseas skilled tech talent – including updating an outmoded work permit system – that does not mean it’s going to be easy for technology companies to attract scientists and engineers to locate in the country, a leading expert on global talent told the Future Jobs Forum in Dublin today.
Sally Khallash, a global talent expert and director of the Centre for Global Talent Strategy, said Ireland has a lot of work to do to make itself attractive for skilled overseas workers and their families.
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“You need to get out of your comfort zone, attract unusual suspects and attract diversity,” she said.
Khallash said countries all over the world need to come up with “defend and attract” strategies aimed at retaining existing skilled workers and attracting talent to locate within their countries.
In Ireland’s case, there are at least 5,000 IT job vacancies in the market at present. Across Europe, there are more than 700,000 ICT job vacancies that the industry is working desperately to fill.
Using the logic that one technology job filled could lead to five additional jobs in the local economy, commentators such as Avego and SOSventures’ Sean O’Sullivan have predicted that changes to Ireland’s arduous work permit system for non-EU workers could generate 100,000 jobs in the Irish economy.
However, Khallash said that even if countries like Ireland succeed in making it easier to get work permits, they need to make themselves attractive locations that can demonstrate they welcome diversity.
But not only that – the skills gap is a global one and tech talent is as eagerly sought in these workers’ home countries as it is in tech hotspots, from Silicon Valley to London and Berlin.
“It is time to not only talk about demand in mature economies but also to take into consideration demand in emerging markets because that is who you are competing with.”
Khallash said 40pc of the world’s labour force is concentrated in India and China and contrary to public perception, proportionately few people actually emigrate from those countries.
“They actually want their diaspora back,” she said.
“Countries building a HR strategy focusing on emerging markets would face quite a few challenges.”
The hunters become the hunted
Khallash pointed out that tech-centric companies in emerging markets are also struggling with the talent gap.
“Companies are over-bidding for salaries and wage inflation for most emerging market multinationals is increasing. In Russia, there have been salary increases of over 60pc for managers and it is becoming more difficult and costly to recruit an experienced manager in emerging markets.”
She said HR directors in tech companies in established IT zones, from Silicon Valley to Dublin and elsewhere in Europe, will be surprised to learn that multinationals in emerging markets are beginning to actually headhunt experienced staff in Europe, the US and Asia.
“Don’t just recruit from abroad,” she urged. “Defend and attract. Defend your own talent and recruit from overseas.”
Watch Sally Kallash deliver her keynote address at the Future Jobs Forum, about rallying global talent:
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