Speaking at Dundalk Institute of Technology yesterday, PayPal’s vice-president of global operations Louise Phelan criticised the lack of language skills in Ireland and revealed that 500 jobs in the company’s Dundalk Operations Centre are being recruited elsewhere.
In June, a skills report from Forfás and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs pointed to a lack of foreign language proficiency in the Irish workforce. The reality of this situation is really starting to hit home now as the Irish Independent reports that half of the 1,000 jobs announced for PayPal’s newly opened Dundalk Operations Centre will have to be recruited outside of Ireland owing to this skills gap.
“Absolutely there is a deficiency in languages in Ireland,” said Phelan. “I am bringing in 50pc of our language cover I require from 19 other countries.”
Employees hired from oversees come at a higher cost for PayPal, an expense that wouldn’t be necessary if Ireland’s education system had sufficiently prepared workers with these skills.
As a European gateway, it is crucial that PayPal’s Irish offices recruit employees with a wide range of languages and Phelan specifically pointed to a need for proficiency in German, Dutch and Nordic languages.
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has expressed concern at Phelan’s comments and it seems this issue will be addressed in the Action Plan for Jobs 2013.
PayPal’s Louise Phelan is one of our panelists at the Future Jobs Forum on 19 October, which is being jointly hosted by Silicon Republic and Asia Matters, and will tackle the global battle for talent.