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DCU survey shows 14% increase in IT job vacancies
Thursday 12 January 2006

Students at a computer

“ Two thirds of key future jobs in computing will be filled from abroad,” says expert.

The latest DCU IT jobs survey shows a 14% increase in IT job vacancies to 9,200 in just seven months.

The DCU survey in May 2005 showed IT vacancies of 8,100 and prompted concerns about a shortage of Irish graduates to fill these jobs. Numbers entering computing and technology courses fell sharply in the wake of the dot com collapse and have not yet significantly recovered.

Government Ministers have warned that Ireland’s economy could suffer in future because of the shortfall in numbers taking up science and technology as a career.

Leading commentator on IT, DCU Professor Michael Ryan says: “It now seems certain that more than 60 per cent of the new jobs being created will be lost to young Irish people. They will be taken up by highly skilled immigrants, happy to come here to work in our technology industry.”

“Clearly the bad publicity associated with the dot.com collapse still blinds Irish students and their advisors to the reality of the Irish software scene. They don’t realize that the industry has recorded substantial growth in turnover and exports in every year since 1991, and is a world leader, with over 900 companies and exports of €16 billion, roughly 20% of all Irish exports.”

“ In 2002 and 2003, although exports and turnover increased significantly, there was a decline in the numbers employed as companies that had hired ‘ahead of the curve’ let people go, but this correction is now behind us and numbers employed are on the way up once more. “

The Government’s Expert Skills Group’s projected demand for computing graduates in 2010, when this year’s college entrants will be graduating, is already seen by industry sources as an underestimate. The Group predicted a shortfall of between 1,217 and 2,313 in the supply of graduates in 2010, but the gap is expected to be significantly larger. It will be filled by graduates from abroad, with special Government initiatives already aimed at facilitating work permits for those coming into the sector.

“So why are Irish students blind to such a great opportunity? A root cause must be the lack of any solid basic understanding of what computing involves, and of the value of an education based around computing as a central theme.” Says Professor Ryan.

“Computing is just starting, and will become more and more involved in every aspect of our lives, with huge growth in the demand for people with the imagination, understanding and communication skills needed to create the future.

“An education based on computing develops abilities in critical thinking, organization, management and problem solving in a way few other disciplines can match, and provides a solid base for all kinds of careers. The pity is that there seems to be no effective way of getting this through to our young people. “