Technological Skills shortage in the Irish job market
1st Aug 2017
With the upturn in the fortunes of the Irish economy in the post-recession era employers right across the board now, have recruitment at the forefront of their minds.
I have seen recent figures from a reputable economic think-tank that nearly 80% of Irish businesses expect increased business activity in 2017 and closer to 90% predict they will be recruiting.
This optimism is mirrored by employees and job-seekers.
Good news stories about economic growth and investment are plentiful and they are certainly doing their bit slowly but surely to transform the economic landscape.
Nearly 8 in 10 of surveyed employees said they intend to look for a new job within the next couple of years, whilst just over 6 in 10 said they are confident of a salary increase in 2017.
This buoyant optimism is in stark contrast to the despondency that infected the Irish economy and job market only a few short years ago.
This renewed sense of optimism is also contributing to an influx of Irish emigrants returning home from the likes of Australia, America and the US. Anecdotal evidence suggests as many as 1000 people are coming home every month. I can also attest to this from some LinkedIn groups that I run for Irish expats keen to return to Ireland.
Ireland does suffer from a severe skills shortage, particularly acute in the Engineering, Construction and Technology sectors and this influx is going some way to alleviating that, but by no means is it a silver bullet.
For example, some clients I work with are continually lamenting the shortage of specialist Engineers in the areas of Electrical Power Generation and Renewable Energy.
In fact, nearly every company I recruit on behalf of are adamant that the candidate pool is lacking in depth, number and quality.
To fill these skills gaps, particularly in more specialised areas, many businesses are forced to look abroad.
One modestly-sized company I recruit for has as many as 12 High Voltage Engineers from India. In fact, as of right now I am in discussions with a company regarding bringing in a HV Design Engineer from the very same place. The simple reason is we just cannot find them here in Ireland.
The Irish education system is not keeping pace with the changing demands of business, nor are businesses pushing hard enough to upskill and develop their employees for technical roles.
In a lot of instances, our universities are not equipping graduates with the know how to tackle a constantly evolving job market. We are still teaching things in our universities that were being taught 15, 20, 25 years ago. This is despite huge and revolutionary technological changes in the way we work and the way in which the wheels of the economy turn.
While the economy has shown remarkable improvement in recent years, bouncing back from recession to a relatively speedy growth in a short space of time, salaries have grown only modestly.
Some sectors are bucking the trend — engineering, construction and IT are the most competitive industries in the country, and experienced professionals in these sectors are enjoying the fastest rates of salary growth.
In construction and engineering; site engineers, project managers, quantity surveyors, building services engineers, architects and HV Engineers, Substation Design Engineers, Electrical Project Managers and HV Electrical Estimators have all seen salary increases as high as between 5% and 10% in the last year.
On the whole, Ireland’s economic outlook is positive. The European Commission predicted that Ireland will be the fastest growing European economy in 2016/2017 with nearly 5% GDP growth.
However, the underlying point is skills shortages must be addressed. Business leaders and Government should use this recovery to make Ireland more competitive on the global stage by promoting technical training for Irish professionals and building a school curriculum to equip children for the technological economy of today and tomorrow.
If you are HV engineer seeking a new role in Ireland or you are seeking a job in another seeker of the engineering & technical sector, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 02890918526.
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