A White Paper published by Code Institute has highlighted how Ireland’s growing Digital Skills crisis is likely to have a major impact on the country’s growth prospects over the coming years.
Intended to act as a guide for Irish companies seeking workable solutions to address the digital skills crisis, the White Paper shows how the issue is affecting not just organisations’ recruitment efforts, but critically their overall operating performance.
Speaking at today’s launch of ‘The Digital Skills Crisis – Time to Act’, Jim Cassidy, Code Institute CEO said, “The worldwide shortage of ICT talent that is threatening employment growth across the globe, is also a significant issue here in Ireland. Over the next two years an expected 12,000 jobs are to go unfilled in the Irish ICT sector, which will have a direct knock-on impact on productivity and growth.”
While recognising the scale of the problem, because of funding shortfalls many traditional education providers in Ireland are struggling to meet the level of demand for digitally literate graduates. According to the European Commission, Ireland currently has one of the lowest levels of basic digital skills in the EU, and with 9 out of 10 jobs requiring digital skills in future, the White Paper makes it clear that significant Government investment in the digitisation of education is required.
Underlining the need for more investment is the Government’s own report, ‘Digital Transformation: Assessing the Impact of Digitalisation on Ireland’s Workforce’, which warns that 46,000 hypothetical jobs are at risk due to automation. However, the Code Institute’s White Paper argues that these losses can be avoided with proper planning and digital upskilling of the workforce, so that even more jobs can be created.
Industry has a major role to play in this regard, by being more pro-active in the education and upskilling of workers. A Digital Employee survey carried out as part of research for the White Paper, reveals that while 66% of people have been offered training in their job, the vast majority (60%) found what was offered to be less than good. A slight majority (53%) said they would move to another role if better training was offered, while a majority (60%) have had to use their own money to advance their learning and training.
For organisations that wish to retain staff by promote in-job training, the White Paper recommends that:
- Existing talents and capabilities must be managed and once identified organisations can capitalise on them as new technological breakthroughs arise.
- Companies must be willing to accept that as skills are identified, career paths may radically change.
- Companies must develop a learning and development model that offers adequate and frequent skills training to all members of staff.
Expanding on these recommendations and some of the key conclusions contained within the White Paper, the launch event also included a panel discussion with tech leaders David Kirwin, Accenture Director of Technology, Reshmi Goff, Technical Sales Lead, Microsoft, and WorkJuggle CEO, Ciara Garvan.
Also speaking as part of the panel discussion, Code Institute’s Jim Cassidy noted that, while there is no quick fix to the digital skills crisis, there are some practical solutions that can bridge part of the gap, “We actively work with HR and L&D departments to provide the right digital talent. Whether it’s developing a digital talent strategy, offering a line of sight to some of the best new developers or upskilling existing staff within your company, there are simple, cost-effective, ways to bridge the gap.”