Digital media firms predict 35pc jobs increase

30 Jun 2008

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Digital media firms based at the government-backed Digital Hub district are predicting a 35pc increase in employment numbers this year, an economic impact study reveals.

Speaking to last week, Digital Hub marketing director, Dr Stephen Brennan, said there are 97 companies based in the district out of which 750 people are employed on a full-time basis, followed by another 200-300 part-time workers. “On any given day there are 1,000 people on the campus.”

The latest survey – which was conducted late last year – shows Digital Hub companies are twice as likely to engage staff on a full-time, permanent basis than the average company operating in Ireland. 

The skills profile of companies in the Digital Hub is significantly higher than the national average, with 85pc of employees in Hub companies having a National Framework Qualification of Level 6 or above.

Commenting today, Philip Flynn, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency said the survey findings were good news not only for Digital Hub companies but for the digital media industry overall.

“Approximately one in six of the digital media companies currently operating in Ireland are located in the Digital Hub.

“So this survey not only gives us an insight into how Hub companies are getting on, it also gives key indicators about the health of Ireland’s digital media industry overall.”

He said the survey findings prove that digital media companies hold huge promise for the future of the Irish economy. 

“Despite the current economic downturn, the results show the digital media sector serves as a live example for Ireland’s new knowledge-based economy and points the way to future economic growth.

“Digital media companies have young, highly-skilled, flexible employees; they are growing at much faster rates than companies in other sectors and they are international in flavour, being hugely successful in both domestic and export markets and recruiting employees from both Ireland and overseas.

The report found the majority of digital media companies in Ireland – 79pc – are in the start-up or early growth stage.

Innovation is a key characteristic of digital media companies: some 43pc of Digital Hub companies have a product that is completely new to the market, while 25pc have developed unique business practices and 24pc use a business model unique to their particular market.

The chance to collaborate with other industry players is a key attraction for companies located in the Digital Hub, with 80pc of claiming to have collaborated with other companies in the Digital Hub. This figure is expected to rise to 98pc during 2008.

Some 46pc of companies in the Digital Hub are clients of either Enterprise Ireland or IDA.

Recruiting suitably qualified staff is a major challenge for digital media companies in Ireland. Some 55pc have experienced difficulties in this regard, in particular when recruiting experienced project managers, interactive designers, programmers or sales and marketing staff.

 “Last week’s report from the Expert Group for Future Skills Needs highlighted the importance of nurturing strong technical, engineering and computing skills amongst workers in Ireland,” Flynn explained.

“This survey proves digital media companies are already doing all of that and more. Undoubtedly, the digital media sector will contribute to the development of Ireland’s knowledge economy in the years to come.”

By John Kennedy

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years