A new survey of 1,000 of business professionals across Ireland, has shown the vast majority (85%) have insufficient IT skills.
The survey, carried out by Code Institute, asked participants to carry out a “tech diagnostic” test, which included 10 entry-level technical questions about modern IT, from what is the Internet of Things and what is open source software, to general questions about Agile development and cloud deployment models.
The test was designed to evaluate whether IT skills and knowledge are up to date and sufficient for the modern workplace, according to the Institute.
Startlingly, 85pc of Irish professionals failed to show a sufficient level of technical competency, with 40pc of survey respondents falling below the 50pc pass mark.
More than a quarter (28%) achieved between a 50 and 60% mark, while less than one in five (19%) showed what was described as entry level technical competency, with a score of 70% or above.
With such a high level of Irish professionals lacking in the necessary IT skills, bridging the tech skills gap is a long way off from improving.
Not only is this negative for the professionals in terms of their career growth, it’s bad news for the companies, too. Employees and companies will need to do more to rectify this dramatic skills shortage.
Jim Cassidy, CEO of Code Institute, said that organisations need to realise how much it affects them and take actions to rectify the problem
“Technology is playing a greater part in our working lives every single year, regardless of the industry you work in.”
“Regular upskilling is vital for future-proofing careers, and this survey shows that most professionals are in danger of letting their skills become obsolete,” he added.
Breaking down the demographics, 88% of the respondents are in current employment, meaning there are direct implications for businesses.
“This affects businesses as well as their staff,” said Cassidy. “Companies need to be able to adapt to changes in their market, to have the skills to identify technological threats and opportunities, and with under-skilled managers and employees, that will be a struggle.”
Looking at industry sectors and groups, the scores were fairly consistent, but marketing, finance and students performed best with average scores in the 45-50% range, with the retired, hospitality and sales groups scoring worst, averaging from 35-40%.
The vast majority (85%) of respondents are college educated, the survey found, indicating a skills gap within the existing education system.
“Ireland plays host to some of the biggest tech companies in the world, and yet most Irish professionals’ skills are not up to date,” said Cassidy. “For Ireland to thrive in coming years, we must address the growing problem of our under-trained staff. This problem will only exacerbate in coming months and years as other countries compete for jobs post-Brexit.”
Under-skilled staff is not the only problem here. The tech skills shortage also holds companies back when it comes to implementing digital initiatives that would help them move with the times.
Earlier this year, another survey of Ireland by KingramRed found that 60pc of Irish organisations have no vision for their success in the digital world, and 65pc of them are unhappy with their progress in staff engagement to affect digital change.
However, a lack of tech skills was deemed the number one barrier when it came to the ability to move forward with digital change.
“Ireland’s economy has been the fastest-growing in Europe for four years in a row,” said Cassidy. “With the right attitude to training, technology and modern business, we can maintain this momentum.”