Trends in graduate recruitment in IT and Communications
The good news for graduates is that with all the growth in this sector, students with the right core competencies and skills are definitely in demand.
According to 2016 data from the Expert Group for Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), this sector had one of the highest vacancy rates in 2015, along with the financial sector. Between the third quarter of 2014 and the third
quarter of 2015, there was a 6% increase in employment, which amount to more than 4,400 additional hires.
During 2015, approximately 3,000–5,000 jobs were announced in the IT sector each quarter, resulting in 15,000 new jobs throughout 2015. Almost 70% of these jobs are for persons with third level qualifications. The most common age group hired was between 25–34, which shows that postgraduate applicants and those transitioning from other sectors are successfully acquiring jobs in this area. It’s also a career with stability, with 86% of new hires being for full-time positions.
The IT sector in Ireland has a huge international footprint in Ireland, and there is also a very large international workforce working here throughout the sector. IT accounts for the highest share of new employment permits issued each year, which shows the challenges which companies are facing in finding the right graduates and jobseekers here. Over half of the employment permits issued were for positions paying between €30,000 and €50,000 and most new employment permit holders were graduates with a degree or masters qualification. The area of technical support is one of the largest areas of the IT sector in Ireland, meaning those with foreign language skills are
in high demand.
Specialist areas and difficult to fill roles
According to official data, 38% of ‘difficult to fill’ roles across all sectors were in the area of IT, primarily for
experienced roles in software development. While graduates may not be able to access these roles directly, courses in computing science and software development, with a focus on development, will put them on the right path for roles such as:
Software development: Tech companies are looking for software developers with skills and experience in
.NET, C#, C++, Java, PHP, Python and user interface and user experience technology. With the web focusing so
much on mobile technology, anything in relation to mobile applications and support is very much in demand.
Engineers: Skilled network engineers with Linux or Open Source skills, quality assurance and testing skills
and experience will also have good career opportunities.
Business intelligence: This is an area which crosses over into ‘big data’ in terms of analysis (see our article
on page 13). Companies are also looking for those skilled in enterprise software such as SAP and Oracle.
Management: Those with leadership potential are always on the radar of recruiters, and no less so in the
IT sector where project managers and digital marketing experts are needed to roll-out the creations from the
technical side and market them to a wider world.
In terms of specific recommendations, employers urge future graduates to attend local events that are relevant to their area of interest, things like Chambers of Commerce events, conferences/talks, open evenings in local companies and ensure they learn how to network and build a network base, which will ensure a strong knowledge of current business and economic trends.
Another popular suggestion by employers was for graduates to seek out a mentor in the IT and Communications industry, who could not only deal with necessary questions, but also help them keep up to date with what’s happening in the sector.
Also, students in university should take full advantage of internship positions during the summer, even if it’s unpaid in a start-up. The more experience they get, the more real estate they have when it comes to going for a graduate position.
Amongst other advice offered was getting involved in clubs and societies at leadership level, undertaking voluntary and charity work and ensuring they develop skills necessary for full-time employment, which are not addressed academically, for example presentation skills and communications training.
Download the AHECS Graduate Recruitment and Employability Survey here