Open Ireland attended the European Tech Cluster forum “Eliminating the Budget Deficit & Building the Skills Pipeline” on the 26th June in Cork where a range of business leaders, including Open Ireland founder Sean O’Sullivan, explained how filling existing job vacancies in the technology sector could promote further job creation and help eliminate Ireland’s budget deficit.

Sean took to the stage to explain what he believes the Government can do to help IT companies in Ireland fill the thousands of existing jobs which is estimated at 20,000.

According to Sean, the crucial next step for the Government it to issue a special Technology Visas for skilled workers to make it easier for them to work and live in Ireland.

These changes would benefit both the local and national economy by creating additional jobs in other sectors. For every one job created in ICT, a conservative estimate suggests 4 jobs in the real economy would be generated e.g. taxis, hair dressers, cinemas, Restaurants, phone & cable providers, coffee shops, retail sector not to mention factories being built, homes being purchased, architect jobs, legal jobs, engineering jobs… the list goes on.

The forum re-emphasised our belief that Ireland can solve its economic crisis by becoming the “Silicon Valley of Europe” by opening its doors to people with specific technical and scientific skills

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that are currently not available in Ireland. This was highlighted by Denis Collins, Chairman of it@cork European Tech Cluster, as he presented details of research from PWC, which outlined the opportunity that exists if we bring the world’s top technology talent to our shores. Collins stated “if we can get this right, we can help the Government to bridge the budget deficit, while also having an immediate and long term impact on our sector and our economy.”

We heard earlier this year of the lost opportunities already, when CEO of the IDA Barry O’Leary noted in a radio interview that “there would have been more than 13,000 new jobs last year if there had been a greater availability in the skills arena”. We cannot afford to allow any more jobs to be unfilled.

The Forfás ‘Key Skills for Enterprise to Trade Internationally’ report , released earlier this month, shows that the IT sector has the most positive employment outlook with employment levels expected to increase by between 15% – 20% over the next three years within the sector.

The opportunity is there, the jobs are there, the skilled workers are there. All we need to do now is open Ireland.

 

Below are some pictures from the event: