Research conducted by Hays Ireland found that 78pc of employers experienced skills shortages in 2017. Many companies have had to hire from overseas as there are not enough skilled workers in Ireland to meet demand.
This represents a significant opportunity for college students. Choosing one of the most in-demand job markets will almost guarantee a job after graduating. But where are these jobs?
According to the National Skills Bulletin 2017 produced by SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the strongest demand for skills is in the construction industry, STEM categories of information and communication technology (ICT) and engineering, financial services and industrial sectors.
Trayc Keevans, Global FDI Director at Morgan McKinley recruitment consultancy, backs up this report and adds data science and biopharma/biotechnology to the list of industries.
“It is no surprise these areas are the most in-demand,” says Trayc. “Ireland continues to be at the forefront of emerging and evolving global industries. Ireland constantly pushes innovation to ensure there are relevant employment opportunities for its highly skilled workforce and graduate community.”
Let’s take a look at some of these top industries looking for highly skilled graduates:
Data science: One of the fastest growing skill-sets in-demand is data science and analytics. Within this industry there is a need for data scientists, data analysts, machine learning engineers and business intelligence analysts.
Data science involves organising and analysing data collected by an organisation, such as sales figures and market research. They then communicate their data to the company which can influence how an organisation conducts their business. Maths, data modelling and statistics are vital to the role and the average starting salary can be quite high.
“The recently enacted GDPR legislation is influencing a hiring demand for data privacy professionals across all industry sectors,” says Trayc. “This includes professional services, insurance, travel and financial services.”
Those working in data science and analytics can work in a vast number of other industries and there will be even more industries in need of data experts in the future. Many colleges offer degrees in this subject, but those holding a mathematics, statistics or technical degree would also be suited to the role.
Engineering: Engineering in any discipline will always be a needed skill. But in today’s world, the engineering sector is facing unprecedented demand. The main skills shortages include process automation engineers, quality engineers, design engineers, utilities engineers and validation engineers
In particular, the automotive industry is going through a major transformation globally, as it transitions towards full autonomous driving cars.
“This sector has been gaining traction in Ireland over the past year,” continues Trayc. “Big global names establishing operations here include JaguarLandRover in Shannon and Aptiv in Dublin, alongside already established operations of General Motors in Limerick and Valeo in Galway. This shows there is much need for engineers in this area.
“There are new emerging positions such as perception engineers, and embedded software engineers, who design and develop the software that makes computers or other devices. There are also functional safety engineers, who ensure the design and development of products/solutions are carried out to a functional safety standard.”
Engineering courses are available in most universities and institutes around the country, where you can specialise in specific areas.
Financial services: As the economy has improved over the years, so too has the financial services sector risen from its depths after the recession. The financial sector employs over 35,000 people in Ireland and it is expected to increase.
Ireland is an attractive base for foreign financial services operations from the United States and Asia due to the highly-skilled workforce, English-speaking population and proximity to Europe. In-demand jobs within the financial sector include fund accounting, risk and control, depository, compliance, AML (anti-money laundering) and product management.
Degrees in colleges around Ireland can be found in accountancy, mathematics, business and finance.
ICT: Many emerging skills shortages are driven by the speed of the technological changes across industries, for example, in automation, artificial intelligence and robotics.
ICT areas demand skilled graduates in software development, web design and cyber security.
Trayc adds: “Cyber security breaches internationally are resulting in a greater demand for cyber security professionals, including security engineers and ethical hackers.
“We are playing catch-up in these areas and the local universities and institutes are designing courses to support the growth of this skill-set.”
Biopharma/Biotechnology: The pharmaceutical industry is experiencing significant growth in Ireland with major pharmaceutical companies setting up Irish operations.
Skills shortages in this industry are for roles such as chemists/analytical scientists especially in product formulation, analytical development for roles in biopharma, and quality control analysts including drug safety roles.
Highly skilled graduates in these type of roles attract international companies to set up in Ireland and they look for a more modern mix of employees.
“International employers are closely monitoring the gender mix of graduates, particularly in STEM-related disciplines where historically, females have been fewer in numbers,” says Trayc. “Their express need is to achieve a gender balance that is lacking in their parent organisations. This means that more women are definitely needed in these areas.”
But no matter how high the employability or the salary is for an industry, the most important part of the CAO choices is that you have an interest in them and feel like you would love to work in these areas as a career. There is no point in picking a course only to learn that you hate every part of the job. Pick a job you love and you will never work a day in your life!