Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 07 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Information Technology Sector.
Mr. Deenihan Mr. Deenihan
162. Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his views on recent research from Dublin City University which shows that job vacancies in the information technology sector rose by 14% to 9,200 in the last seven months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4067/06]
Mr. Killeen Mr. Killeen
Mr. Killeen: I am aware of the survey to which the Deputy refers. It was undertaken by assessing the contents of websites of various recruitment organisations and counting the IT vacancies being advertised at that time. The results attest to the overall buoyancy of the economy and, in particular, the upturn in the ICT sector since 2001.
The expert group of future skills needs advises Government on skills and labour supply issues for the enterprise sector. It carried out work in 2005 that pointed to skills shortages in a number of IT occupations. These include computer programmers, analysts and software engineers. While there does not appear to be a shortage at present among electronic and electrical engineers, the upturn in IT activity means that available skilled manpower is in greater demand than heretofore.
The expert group on future skills needs is closely monitoring the supply of graduates from the third level education system. The declining number of students opting to study ICT related subjects at third level, largely due to mistaken perceptions among students and their parents that the IT industry is not a good career choice, is of concern. Those perceptions are no longer valid in the light of current labour market manpower needs.
Last October, the expert group on future skills needs convened a meeting of key stakeholders, including Discover Science & Engineering, Engineers Ireland, ICT Ireland, the Irish Computer Society, the Higher Education Authority and IDA Ireland. The objective was to devise a co-ordinated action plan to reverse these mistaken perceptions and the consequential fall-off in students undertaking ICT related subjects.
All these organisations have since then been actively promoting technology-based courses in the run-up to the recent CAO applications deadline. A longer-term awareness campaign to highlight the opportunities now available to graduates with third level qualifications in technological disciplines is in development. It will be launched during 2006. In summary, I am aware of the emerging manpower problems in this sector and we are taking action to address them.
Dáil Éireann 614 Written Answers. Information Technology Sector.