The Skills Gap Shortage in Ireland

by Ian Dowd, Marketing Director Ireland, NGA Human Resources

Prospects are looking good for Ireland with ever increasing job vacancies becoming available and record numbers of the population in employment. In the midst of this widespread optimism about the country’s future, there is however still a huge challenge facing the economy which needs to be tackled head on – the skills crisis which is impacting all organisations.

Although Ireland has a highly educated workforce, producing top talent from colleges every year, the European Commission has reported that a digital skills gap amongst the Irish population is halting employment progress. Returning skilled Irish emigrants are seen as essential to fill a skills gap in the economy but this alone is not going to solve the issue.

This crisis is not just about a skills shortage but a mismatch between the current skills base and the requirements of the role to meet business objectives now and in the future. This not only holds back growth but also impacts productivity.

Many business leaders believe they are suffering from a skills shortage which is having a negative impact on growth. However this belief is often based on gut feeling alone and no hard data to support it. A failure to identify a company’s skills gap means organisations are left unable to recruit the right skills which can have a huge impact on productivity and in turn restricts growth. The key to being in a strong position to hire the right talent is in having a good insight into the talent base and skill requirements within an organisation then using this information to put initiatives in place to address the crisis.

When it comes to hiring new talent, many CEOs are struggling to recruit the right people with the relevant skills and, in a desperate attempt to fill vacancies, are often forced to make compromises in their employee hires. Whilst this approach results in filling vacant positions it means they are not necessarily bringing the right talent on board and this can have a negative impact on productivity growth. However, with programmes in place, organisations can diversify their skills base and three-quarters of those questioned are actively doing this.
Whilst recruitment is challenging, some businesses are also unaware of their current employee attrition rates and simply don’t know how fast they are losing staff.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to the skills crisis. HR departments are increasingly becoming more strategic and are viewed as having a key role to play in helping businesses overcome issues resulting from the skills gap.

HR departments can have a major impact on the development and delivery of the overall business strategy and HR leaders understand that one of the most important areas to focus on is attrition. Identifying, developing and retaining talent already within an organisation is the best place to start and developing initiatives to tackle the staff turnover rate is vital.
Another key area is recruitment and attracting the right people. With the current demand for more flexible employee contracts, from part time working to working from home, having plans in place to support this is a strong starting point.

Growing in the midst of a skills crisis is difficult but not impossible. With the right focus and strategic direction, it is believed that an organisational approach to HR along with the right initiatives in place to attract, develop and retain talent will ultimately help to eliminate the skills gap and bring about further growth in Ireland.

About NGA Human Resources
NGA Human Resources is a global leader in helping organisations transform their business-critical HR operations to deliver more effective and efficient people-critical services. We help our clients become better employers through smarter, more streamlined business processes — to save money, manage employee life cycles, and support globally connected, agile organisations. This is how NGA makes HR work.
What sets us apart is The NGA Advantage. It’s a combination of deep HR experience and insight, advanced technology platforms and applications, and a global portfolio of flexible service delivery options.
Founded in 1969, NGA has over 44 years of experience in the IT industry. As a recognised global HR services leader, we have offices in 35 countries on five continents, supporting customers in more than 100 countries.
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