ALMOST 1,000 workers were recruited from abroad last year to fill IT jobs -- some paying salaries of up to €70,000 -- because employers could not find enough suitable candidates here.
The number of workers hired from outside the EU has almost doubled in a year, the Irish Independent has learned. The figures mean more than a quarter of all new IT jobs are now estimated to go to people recruited from outside the country.
An analysis of Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation figures shows that the number of new employment permits issued to staff to work in the IT industry soared to 932 last year, compared with just 551 in 2010.
There were more new permits issued to staff to work in IT than in any other sector. Another 697 new permits were issued for healthcare workers, 374 for workers in the services industry, 219 in catering, 192 in manufacturing and 185 in financial services.
The number of non EU-workers alone who were taken on is likely to represent at least one out of every four job opportunities which arose in the IT sector last year, during which 4,000 new jobs where announced. The worsening state of the skills shortage has come to light as more than 434,000 people are on the dole, and the Government tries to entice workers to take up technology careers through 'conversion courses'.
Among those hiring overseas were Wipro Technologies, Facebook and Google, while already this year hi-tech giants including Ericsson, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Paypal have applied for permits for overseas workers. The permits are only issued to staff after employers have "made every effort" to recruit an Irish worker or native of the European Economic Area for the post.
Kerry-based software firm Annadale is one of many having difficulties finding suitable candidates to fill vacancies. It has been forced to train up maths and civil engineering graduates in computer programming to compete with multinationals handpicking the top students.
Anne-Marie Walsh and Katherine Donnelly, 5/4/2012
Irish Independent, Full article