The Tech Talent Visa Campaign: 1.4 Million Jobs by 2016.

We can make Ireland the land of opportunity for 21st century skilled labour.

We need to reach out to anybody with knowledge skills and set Ireland as the place where they can achieve their dreams. Approaching the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the State, let’s create a Tech Talent Visa, which sends out the message that Ireland welcomes with open arms those people with the technical and scientific skills we will need to realise Ireland’s aspiration to be the Silicon Valley of Europe.

Ireland should issue 50,000 visas a year for the next four years, ensuring 200,000 knowledge jobs and supporting another 1.2 million in the domestic economy – thus creating and securing over 1.4 million jobs by 2016.

So how do we go about doing this?

Knowledge Workers are specialists. It takes years of relevant training to develop these skills. Ireland simply doesn’t have enough people in relevant courses now to supply the skilled workforce we will require. Even if all the 3rd level graduates specialised in knowledge-based disciplines, we still wouldn’t have enough people to feed the demands of the science and technology industries. So ‘grow your own’ is not an option.

The Race for Talent

The race is on globally to find and attract the talent that will power the next economy. We are competing with the UK, the US, China, Singapore (the list goes on) for the top talent in science and technology. The countries that win this talent war will lead the world economy in the 21st century.

The creation of a Tech Talent Visa programme will at once send a message to the world that Ireland is the place to be if you are a knowledge professional.

It will show that Ireland is intent on building on its existing success, sending a positive message out to future employers – that Ireland ‘gets it’, that Ireland is innovating to solve the biggest challenge globally: Talent.

Drucker knew this back in 2003:

We need an economic policy that accepts that 90 percent of workers in a developed economy are not manual workers. We need to think through our national policy to tilt to the new realities in which capital is totally mobile and available any place at the same price. Today the only differentiator is the productivity of the human resource…and we will have to develop quite new and totally different thinking.”

Peter Drucker, The Future of the Corporation IV, lecture given at Claremont Graduate University, 2003

If Ireland is to achieve the current government’s stated goal of being “the best small country to do business in by 2016”, the recruitment drive must start now.