Skills gaps: Where are the best opportunities for graduates?

Date Uploaded: 27/04/2017

There are not enough skilled workers to meet demand in computing, engineering and construction

Every year State agencies monitor the supply of skills emerging from the education system and measure it against demand for employment.

Many of the reports are produced by officials in Solas, the further education and training authority, for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, a State advisory body.

Among its findings in recent reports and bulletins are skills gaps emerging in areas such as computing, engineering, construction as well as the business and health sectors.

Computing: There has been a strong increase in the number of computing graduates. However, companies report shortages of those with expertise in software development, cloud, databases/big data, testing, security, technical support, networking and infrastructure.

Construction/engineering: Universities and further education courses are not producing anywhere near enough engineers, quantity surveyors or tradespeople to meet demand, according to industry professionals.

Take civil and environmental engineering. The sector had more than 600 graduates per annum until recently. This year it is anticipated there will be fewer than 40.

Quantity surveyors are also in particular demand, along with those in wet trades (bricklayers, plasterers and decorators) and semi-skilled operatives (eg steel fixers, concrete workers and dry liners).

Science: The skills in short supply chiefly relate to niche scientific areas typically associated with the pharmaceutical, biopharma and food innovation industries.

In particular, there is a demand for scientists with experience in compliance, regulatory affairs and new product development. There are also shortages in key positions such as analytical development chemists, formulation scientists, microbiologists and quality control analysts/validation technicians.

Business and finance: Key shortages have been identified in areas such as accounting, compliance and risk, as well as fintech and data analytics.

In the accounting field there is an acute shortage of accountants and tax analysts with experience in niche areas such as fixed assets, solvency and manufacturing.

Compliance and risk sectors are also short of experienced regulatory affairs and insurance compliance professionals.

In the fintech area, companies report a need for business and financial professionals with skills in specific software packages. In addition, many firms are seeking data analysts and statisticians to manage big data.


Journalist: Carl O'Brien

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