THOUSANDS OF IRISH software jobs could be forced overseas unless measures are taken to combat a skills and investment shortage, according to a report published today.
The report conducted by Lero – the Irish software Engineering Research Centre, and the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick. It suggests that indigenous firms, which make up almost 80% of the total number of software firms in Ireland, have created employment faster than foreign/multinationals over the last three years and these firms grew their software-related employment by 39%.
However Professor Brian Fitzgerald, chief scientist at Lero, said “given the shortage of suitably skilled workers domestically, there is a danger that thousands of jobs could be created overseas rather than in Ireland”.
He said that a major barrier to growth is the availability of skilled technical staff. For indigenous firms, accessing personnel with appropriate sales and marketing expertise is also a major challenge. He also said that it was significant that after lack of availability of able technical employees, multinationals cited competition from low cost countries as the second most limiting factor for future growth.
Some 40% and 55% of jobs are filled by inward migration and Professor Helena Lenihan of the Kemmy Business School said these immigrants “make a major contribution to Ireland but more attractive tax jurisdictions may attract them home”.
“It would be a real missed opportunity if the success of the Irish software industry had more employment significance for Eastern Europe than for Ireland,” she said.
The report, which was also conducted in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, found that access to venture capital funding especially to second round, the vital growth stage, remains challenging for many indigenous software companies.