A new study titled “The Irish Software Landscape” claims measures need to be taken to help combat an IT skills and investment shortage in Ireland, as thousands of Irish software jobs could be lost to overseas.
The report suggests the lack of technically-skilled staff pose a danger to the continued strength of the IT sector in Ireland.
The report, which was compiled by Lero – the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, and an organisation we work closely with on digital education; the University of Limerick, and the University of Cambridge, all looked at the growth in the Irish IT sector in the last few years.
Irish businesses who took part in the report increased their staff by 39%, while overseas firms increased their numbers by 23%.
However as well as a lack of technically-skilled, the report also claims the shortage of sales and marketing skills are a threat to the future of the sector too.
“There is a danger that thousands of jobs could be created overseas rather than in Ireland,” said Professor Brian Fitzgerald, chief scientist at Lero.
“The challenge is particularly acute for our vital indigenous sector as graduates tend to be more attracted to multinational household names. Even amongst multinationals there is the danger of an ‘arms race’ whereby firms compete for top graduates, salaries are pushed up and, as a result, Ireland loses competitiveness,” he added.
The new report highlights concerns expressed raised by Irish technology executives in recent years, for example John Herlihy, Googles country manager here spoke about the weak standards among maths and science students, while Louise Phelan from PayPal caused controversy when she said some “graduates joining her company carries a sense of entitlement about them” when they started working at her offices.
The government however, has praised the IT sector for its role in recovering the economy, but according to the report Ireland is facing major competition as a number of Eastern European countries are going as far as eliminating income tax for IT workers.
Speaking about the skills shortage, University of Limerick’s Helen Lenihan said “Ireland needs to review its current investment and taxation policies to ensure that it does not lose out to more highly incentivised models in the UK, including Northern Ireland, and Eastern Europe. More and more businesses are looking overseas for staff”
“Currently somewhere between 40% and 55% of jobs are filled in this manner. These immigrants make a major contribution to Ireland but more attractive tax regimes may attract them home. It would be a real missed opportunity if the success of the Irish software industry had more employment significance for Eastern Europe than Ireland.” she added