What skills are needed in today’s economic climate?
The extraordinary growth of the multinational sector of the Irish economy has continued uninterrupted throughout the two years of the pandemic and throughout the first full year of economic activity following the UK’s exit from the European Union and the single market.
Large swaths of the national economy, especially those related to the food and agriculture sectors, have also continued to perform well in the past two years of the pandemic.
Given this level of economic strength, it is not surprising that the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the overall strength of the labor market increased by 6.1% in the number of people employed between the second and third quarters of 2021, and that the adjusted Covid-19 Unemployment rate for January 2022 is 7.8%, down from the pandemic peak of 19% for all people, including those on unemployment benefit in the event of a pandemic.
There couldn’t be a better time to strategically plan your entry into such a positive and dynamic job market as now after the recent easing of Covid restrictions.
Many of those who progressed through the education system throughout this turbulent time, or who were employed but lost their jobs due to restrictions in many economic sectors, are now looking to upgrade their existing skills base.
Further engagement with education as a means of entering the labor market or diversifying into other areas of economic activity rather than returning to the role they occupied before the pandemic.
Considering postgraduate opportunities in order to gain a desired position in Ireland’s dynamic economy is no surprise. As in any increasingly competitive job market, it’s always worth considering what sets you apart from other candidates when applying for this job.
Undertaking a postgraduate program is one way to do this.
Undertaking a level nine or 10 postgraduate option is quite a commitment and will take time and money. However, those completing a postgraduate will have the benefit of adding a new set of cross-sectoral skills that will complement their CV and enhance their employability.
There is a growing confluence between sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT), business and engineering, which were once considered single disciplines in their own right. ICT now permeates almost every sector of the economy and similarly strong business skills are relevant across many sectors.
Today, accounting firms are not just hiring accountants, they are also looking for marketing, computer science, and engineering graduates. Arts and journalism graduates who can bring communication and social media skills are sought after by companies that need to expand their social media and online presence.
Data analysis is now the skill with the fastest growing demand and this is expected to continue in the years to come. The combination of data and marketing skills is perhaps the most sought after combination.
The evolution of IT security threats, as seen with the cyberattack on the HSE in 2021, amplified by the long-term shift to working from home and the corresponding need for greater data protection, is fueling the application for computer security roles.
With so many people now working from home on a combination of company-owned devices and their own equipment, there is an increased demand for dedicated cybersecurity functions within companies.
The intersection between finance and technology has undergone a huge shift, which is changing the face of the financial services landscape. As in all sectors of our economy, Covid-19 has dramatically intensified this movement of financial services into the online virtual world, as evidenced by the exponential growth of services such as banking services company Revolut.
With dozens of Irish start-ups operating in this field, significant growth is expected in the coming years. Opportunities for hybrid professionals – graduates with skills spanning financial services and technology – will continue to grow as the finance and technology sector sees increased collaboration across government, education and technology sectors. Of the industry.
There are many opportunities for graduates with large financial institutions and smaller global technology companies operating in the financial sphere, as traditional companies struggle to adapt to the rise of finance and technology.
There is increasing overlap in the skills required in different sectors and professional roles. In addition to sectoral skills, cross-sectoral employability skills are increasingly sought after by employers.
These include interpersonal skills, critical/analytical thinking skills, management skills and creativity, design and innovation, entrepreneurship, teamwork, communications and business acumen. The skills sought also include ICT and foreign languages.
One of the skills that comes with acquiring foreign languages is cultural awareness – something that will be vitally important to developing our markets in a post-Brexit environment.
The languages currently requested are German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and the Nordic languages. There is a growing demand for Mandarin as Ireland rapidly expands its trade in goods and services with China.
With the inclusion of Irish as a full EU working language from January 2022, there are also increasing opportunities for graduates proficient in Gaeilge.
Development, training and development
For undergraduate and postgraduate students, there can be a gap between the skills employers are looking for and the skills you will soon leave college with. Closing this gap is a central objective of the government through the Springboard+ program.
Springboard+ is a higher education initiative that offers free part-time courses at certificate, diploma and master’s level, leading to qualifications sought by employers and providing job opportunities in a growing economy.
Springboard+ is co-funded by the Irish government and the European Social Fund. Most courses last a year or less. In a rapidly changing economic environment, Springboard courses have enabled over 35,000 people to acquire new skills, specifically adapted to the needs of today’s market.
All the courses aim to requalify people in areas where employment opportunities in skilled employment are increasing: ICT; high-level workmanship; Medical equipement; biopharmaceutical; international financial services; skills to trade internationally; entrepreneurship and business creation; and niche skills in the construction industry.
The current Springboard+ program, offered by 35 providers, offers a choice of 321 free, part-time and intensive higher education conversion courses at certificate, diploma and postgraduate level under the 2021 initiative -2022.
There are currently 11,259 free spaces available nationwide. Springboard+ qualifications are available in business-to-business skills such as innovation, enterprise/entrepreneurship, digital marketing and project management.
To learn more, visit springboardcourses.ie. In 2020, the government introduced a Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 program. Higher education institutions have been invited to submit applications for funding under the HCI Graduate Retraining Call for Proposals.
Some €300 million has been allocated to the HCI from the surplus of the National Training Fund (TSF), in line with the recommendations contained in the independent review of the DSF into the use of surplus and skills development of the labor market.
This HCI initiative is currently offering 1,869 places in 79 graduate transition courses via 27 providers over three years under Pillar 1 2021-2022. These courses are full-time, over 12 to 18 months, leading to level eight and nine awards.
Places are available in the fields of artificial intelligence, smart factory technology, sustainable energy, medical device technology and cybersecurity.
Recruitment and training of graduates
Every year, dozens of companies, across a wide range of industries, recruit graduates and postgraduates.
Large companies usually have advanced training programs in place. They recruit graduates who can demonstrate strong academic abilities, but who may have limited or no work experience.
A higher education program is one way to bridge this gap by making it easier for new entrants to enter the workforce and equipping them with the necessary skills required by the organization.
Graduate training programs tend to last up to two years. Some will offer opportunities in different areas of the business before settling into a specific career area within the company.
These programs provide the opportunity to learn on the job, gain experience, and earn money at the same time. Graduate training programs can be an important stepping stone to permanent employment.
Examples of graduate recruitment positions currently offered by some of Ireland’s leading companies are listed on the gradireland.com website.
Even in the depths of Covid-19 restrictions, companies such as Kerry Group, Future Force, Google, Analog Devices, Aviva, IBM, SIG and AppDynamics were looking for postgraduate students for training positions in chain management. procurement, R&D, business development, cloud technology, engineering roles in networks, software, construction, financial reporting, etc. The career portal website also contains high quality and up-to-date data on opportunities for graduates.
To see careersportal.ie for more details.