IrishPress

76% OF TECH LEADERS BELIEVE DIGITAL SKILLS EDUCATION FALLS SHORT IN IRISH SCHOOLS

  • Sidero survey reveals that 78% of Irish tech decision-makers believe Institutes of Technology adequately teach digital skills, compared to 60% saying the same for universities
  • The survey of 119 tech leaders shows that two thirds believe more could be done to encourage female students to take STEM subjects, while half feel their company lacks female representation in senior management positions
  • The survey also revealed that the average cost of the IT skills shortage was €295,489 per company last year
  • 72% of those surveyed say that the skills gap negatively impacted their business in 2020, with 29% saying they can’t scale at the pace they want and 21% saying it has halted revenue growth in their business
  • Just 15% of companies in Ireland have introduced a graduate programme, while 13% have an apprenticeship programme in place

Athlone, July 2021: Sidero – Ireland’s software, cloud and digital transformation specialist – today announces the results of a new survey which found that 76% of tech leaders believe that Irish schools are failing to equip students with the necessary digital skills at primary and secondary level.

However, the survey of 119 IT decision-makers* across the island of Ireland revealed that 78% believe Institutes of Technology adequately teach these digital skills, with 60% saying the same for universities. Two thirds believe more could be done to encourage female students to take STEM courses or subjects.

The survey also highlighted a gender gap in Irish businesses – half of IT leaders say their organisation does not have enough female representation in senior management positions.

The study found that the average cost of the IT skills shortage per company in Ireland was €295,489 in 2020. Moreover, 72% of organisations said that the skills gap had negatively impacted their business in some way over the last year.

The lack of inhouse technical and digital skills has meant that 29% of companies can’t scale at the pace they want to, and 21% say it has halted revenue growth in the business. Additionally, 36% of companies in Ireland say the shortage of IT skills is slowing their digital transformation, while one third claim it is hampering innovation.

To help bridge the skills gap, 15% of companies in Ireland have introduced a graduate programme, while 13% have an apprenticeship programme in place. Furthermore, 58% are outsourcing support from external partners in Ireland, and 24% are outsourcing support from external partners outside Ireland.

The full results and analysis of the survey are available as part of a new report by Sidero called ‘2021 Insights: The Future of Work is Agile’.

Carmel Owens, Chief Executive Officer, Sidero said: “It is obvious that a lack of engagement in digital skills education at school and university level is creating a ripple effect. There is a significant amount of work to be done, and we need a collaborative effort from the Government, the education system, and industry to meet Ireland’s IT skills needs.

“It’s imperative that we find better ways to address skills shortages, particularly as our research has revealed the damaging effect they have on revenue, growth and innovation prospects for Irish companies.

“Addressing digital learning at a young age will be a crucial factor in determining the performance of Ireland’s future economy. We would encourage organisations to support their local education providers and play their part in ensuring that students gain the knowledge to succeed.

“Creating vibrant and diverse workforces is key to Ireland’s success and our survey clearly highlights that more needs to be done to encourage more women to enrol in STEM courses so they can advance their careers in this important field.”

Dr. Enda Fallon, Head of Department of Computer and Software Engineering at Athlone Institute of Technology said: “While it’s a good start that 15% of companies in Ireland have introduced a graduate programme and 13% have an apprenticeship programme in place, more organisations should follow suit as a focused and collective effort is needed to truly bridge the IT skills gap.

It’s also vitally important to address the gender gap and do more to encourage female students in the subjects of STEM. Huge steps have been taken in this area but IT leaders have highlighted a significant disparity in senior positions, and a balanced workforce will be key to organisational success going forward.

“We are encouraged by the recent Government focus on IT skills in Ireland, and particularly with the merge of Athlone and Limerick Institutes of Technology to form the Technological University of the Shannon. This underpins a commitment to embedding the far-reaching and ever-evolving subject of IT in the Irish education system which is vital to ensure Ireland’s place in the digital future.”

-Ends

Note to editors

*Sidero, in association with Mediateam, surveyed 119 technology decision makers from across the island of Ireland. The survey was carried out in February 2021.

Link to full report here

Photo caption

Carmel Owens, CEO, Sidero

About Sidero

Sidero Technologies was founded in Athlone in 2013 and today is home to one of Ireland’s most accredited and experienced teams of Software Engineers and Cloud Experts. Currently standing at 150 people, Sidero builds mission critical software for some of the most successful Irish and global companies. The company was founded by a small team of engineers on the basis of trust and responsiveness. Today, it has a track record of delivering highly successful projects, with an entire organisation that is agile and easy to do business with, ensuring that customers stay for the long term.

Culturally diverse, Sidero has a team of 21 nationalities and is constantly investing in its people. Customers and staff alike love how we have adopted Scrum values as an organisation – Commitment; Courage; Focus; Openness and Respect. Our Midlands base offers key advantages for hiring and retaining the highest quality talent, and we are proud that employee numbers have grown 35% on average per annum for the past 7 years and we are set for further significant growth. 

As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner, with 40+ accredited consultants, Sidero is increasingly using Cloud Native to build, deploy and run software that exploits the flexibility of cloud computing, i.e. delivering applications that users want at the pace that business needs. https://www.sidero.ie/

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