Information Technology Sector Update Q2
New figures released by the Central Statics Office (CSO) show that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for March was 6.4% down from 6.6% in February and 6.7% in January. The unemployment rate has significantly reduced by more than half since the peak of the financial crisis. Comparing Ireland’s unemployment rate to the Euro zone average of 9.5% leads to encouraging signs Ireland is on the right path.
Looking at the IT industry specifically, overseas investors have played their part in achieving the consistent drop in unemployment levels in Ireland. On a more local level, the Digital Hub has become the largest cluster for digital companies in Ireland. Since 2003 hundreds of companies have progressed through their enterprise cluster and have gone on to create thousands of jobs in the Irish digital economy.
While Ireland ranks strong compared to our neighbouring countries in terms of macroeconomic statistics, it is important to remind ourselves of the recent report from the National Competitiveness Council states there is insufficient attention in areas of clear deficits in infrastructure and investment in skills and innovation.
Ireland is too small to centre all opportunities in cities and towns and recently Eir have announced an agreement with the Irish Government to invest an additional €200 million to upgrade 890 communities to fiber broadband. As a result of this new initiative we will see 300,000 new premises connected to cutting edge fiber broadband. There are also other projects to help grow infrastructure in rural Ireland such as the National Broadband Plan, which has been revised to connect a separate 542,000 premises, including an additional 84,500 identified for the High-Speed Broadband Map.
An example of a skills deficit in the IT sector would be cyber security. As technology is constantly advancing the threat of potential breaches has also skyrocketed. A global study of the infosec workforce predicted that the cyber security talent shortage would reach 1.5m within 5 years, as demand outstrips supply.
Globally, Ireland ranks very high in terms of in demand and availability of talent. A young, highly skilled workforce has helped fuel the continued growth of the IT sector. 9 of the top 10 Global Software Companies, 9 of the top 10 US ICT Companies and 4 of the top 4 IT services companies are present in Ireland.
With Ireland's favourable economic environment factors, such as its membership within the EU, low corporate tax, highly educated workforce and being the only English speaking country in the EU. It is expected that despite external political, social and economic factors (Trump/Brexit) these IT multi-national organisations, by very definition of their name will continue to prosper in Ireland.
Ireland has the capabilities and growing resources to continue to attract, retain and develop on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Ireland’s reputation as the Silicon Valley of Europe is consistently being validated as year on year there is an increase in the number of Tech Start Ups setting up European headquarters here.
According to Stack Overflow, 9% of Dublin workers are developers of some degree*. Comparing this to major cities in the UK such as London (7.7%), Edinburgh (7.1%), Bristol (7%) and Belfast (6.8%) Ireland seems to be the number one choice for developers. As mentioned previously, developers in Ireland have access to the latest technologies and the biggest multi-national organisations but they also better paid than the majority of developers in the UK.
New data from Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Hiring Landscape Report showed continued growth in the Irish tech sector. The report states that the estimated median salaries for developers in the Republic of Ireland were approximately 27% higher than the average median developer salary in the United Kingdom. High paid developers in Ireland also top out at £86,000 which works out as 53% higher than Northern Ireland and 11% higher than those found in Southern England, which came third.