When we ask children what they’d like to be when they grow up, you are more likely to hear fireman or farmer than fintech expert. Indeed, it is estimated that at least 40 per cent of the roles people will carry out in 2030 do not even exist today.
Meanwhile, demand for skills in areas such as data science, quantum computing, and blockchain is no longer confined to sectors such as fintech and ICT, with companies across every industry aggressively competing for this talent. In a rapidly digitalising world, how well is Ireland positioned to meet the future skills needs of industry?
Post-pandemic, digital adoption is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, sectors are being disrupted and the decentralisation or borderless office as a location of work is here to stay, says Skillnet Ireland’s chief technologist Mark Jordan.
“In this phase of business re-emergence, Ireland has made great progress to innovate in areas of talent development, to improve areas of omni-channel and virtual sales and remote maintenance and repair, along with the creation of management skillsets to ensure effective support and guidance to remote workers,” he explains.
In terms of talent, many of the “new role types” are now starting to become mainstream, particularly in areas of data science, food engineering and robot operations, with an increased demand for technical skills in artificial intelligence, coding, UX design and cloud computing. “This has resulted in employers frantically competing to attract, develop and retain this talent within their businesses,” Jordan says.
Yet traditional emotional intelligence skills are also critical in terms of talent development; collaboration and the flexing of industry ecosystems to build and redevelop relationships remains essential, along with the creation of high performance teams who are required to deliver business excellence, whether within a start-up SME or large multinational, he adds.
Yvonne Kiely, head of EY-Seren in Ireland, EY’s dedicated customer-focused transformation engine, also believes Ireland enjoys key attributes which make it more likely to win the twin wars on talent and retention.
“Ireland is really well positioned in so many aspects because we are home to so many multinational companies and we have a huge influx of talent because of that, with people getting really rich experience from working with the likes of Silicon Docks companies as well as the indigenous, strong start-up culture that has grown here, not only in Dublin but regionally too,” she says. “We are really well positioned to captivate a lot of the market demand in a really meaningful way.”
Kiely maintains that the pandemic has offered a unique opportunity for many employees to push themselves even further out of their comfort zone; with this experience, Irish tech workers will find themselves even more in demand.
“Because organisations have been forced by Covid to take a much more agile delivery and governance approach, they’ve actually devolved and empowered their teams to make decisions,” she explains. “Covid-19 has also accelerated the acceptance of hybrid and remote working, making it more appealing to work for organisations, so we are not just solving a talent crisis here in Ireland, we are actually able to serve organisations globally. Now it’s more about outputs.
“It’s not about presenteeism, it’s about what value you deliver to an organisation.”