Thinking outside the Google box
Among the big-name multinationals recruiting at Career Zoo, there were 1,500 vacancies in lesser-known Irish companies, giving graduates an opportunity build with their careers at the cutting edge, writes CIARA O'BRIEN
AS A TECH HUB, Ireland isn’t doing too badly. With some of the top tech firms in the world locating here – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft to name a few – the country is fast attracting high-tech talent.
But there is another side to the story. Indigenous technology firms are a success story that may have been overlooked in the Career Zoo event in Dublin last month. Among the multinationals recruiting – Amazon, AOL and Twitter were all seeking fresh blood – there were 1,500 vacancies in Irish companies.
It was all part of an initiative backed by Enterprise Ireland to stimulate interest in the sector. Anne Lanigan, senior development adviser with Enterprise Ireland, says part of the reason why indigenous software firms may fly under the radar for many people is that their focus is often on the export market.
“I think people generally aren’t aware of the sort of innovation that’s coming out of Irish software companies,” she says. “Some 75 per cent of what they deliver is exported.”
It’s an issue that the Irish Software Association (ISA) is also to address.
“A lot of young people, when they are thinking about where they want to work in the industry, will think about the major brands, the Googles, the Microsofts, so they don’t naturally think about working with a start-up or early to mid-stage digital tech sector company in Ireland,” says Karl Flannery, chairman of the ISA.
“There are fantastic opportunities available in scaling companies, high growth firms that are based here right on their doorstep.”
The change in the industry is reflected in the interest in the ISA Awards, which will be held on November 9th, applications for which close tomorrow.
The ISA is the representative body for Irish software and digital tech companies, aiming to create an ecosystem of SMEs seeking to transform markets through innovative software and digital technology.
Flannery says there has been a marked increase in the number of companies applying to the awards in recent years.
“In some cases we’re getting 10 to 15 applicants in a category, which is quite phenomenal,” he says. “It’s very vibrant at the moment. The tech sector is one of the shining lights in the economy.
“Everything we’re working towards and how we frame what we do is around scaling agenda for the member companies and the industry generally in Ireland, says Flannery.
He points out though that some of the challenges facing Irish indigenous firms are the old reliables – skills and financing.