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Bridging the Gap: Unveiling Ireland's STEM Skills Shortage

 Ireland's Growing STEM Skills Gap 

The demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math's) professionals and associate professionals in Ireland is expected to increase by around 8% between now and 2025, which is more than double the growth forecast for all occupations. The proportion of graduates from STEM fields has increased by 16%, between 2015 and 2020, according to the Higher Education Authority (HEA)Many of these talented graduates are unfortunately leaving Ireland, choosing to live and work abroad in countries like Canada and Australia. 

It is positive to see the increasing interest in STEM careers. A recent (RTE) survey indicates that over two-thirds of secondary school students in Ireland are interested in learning more about pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s, showing potential for  STEM graduates, however, we still remain below the European average in Ireland according to the HEA (Higher Education Authority) (Oireachtas Data) (European Commission). 

Here's a quick statistic to digest: for every 100 STEM graduates in the European Union, Ireland produces approximately 25, while the EU average is 29  

The Critical Skills List: A Step in the Right Direction 

Recognising the importance of attracting and retaining skilled professionals, the Irish government has in place a Critical Skills Employment Permit. This permit identifies occupations where there is a shortage of skilled workers in Ireland, allowing employers to recruit from non-European countries to fill these roles. Many STEM-related positions feature prominently on this list.  This underscores the need for long-term solutions in Ireland to cultivate a homegrown STEM workforce and encourage more women into STEM. 

Navigating the Challenges 

The STEM skills gap is here to stay. A Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) report indicates a need for 4,800 additional STEM graduates annually to meet current industry demand This is a challenge for companies hiring and retaining this talent in Ireland. 

The current housing crisis in Ireland is adding to this challenge. The scarcity of available accommodation across the country for candidates relocating to an area is resulting in declined job offers. 

Company recruitment processes are often long and laborious and not aligned with the expectations of today's STEM candidates We see top companies losing expert talent through outdated Talent Aquisition processes. STEM candidates won’t wait around, they don’t need it as the opportunities for them are vast. 

Looking Ahead 

Looking into the future, it's evident that the demand for STEM talent will only continue to rise. By investing in education programs that nurture young minds, fostering a culture of innovation, and retaining top talent through attractive opportunities, Ireland can position itself as a global leader in STEM excellence. 

As of March 2023, Ireland plans to invest at least €150 million in Budget 2024 to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education in universities.  

Here are some STEM learning programs in Ireland to inspire the next generation: 

- Curious Minds: A hands-on program that sparks scientific curiosity among students, teachers, and the public. 

- RDS STEM Learning: A program that equips students with essential skills like problem-solving and critical thinking. 

- STEM Education Development Group: A group that advises the government on curriculum development for STEM education at all levels. 

In closing, Ireland's STEM sector faces significant challenges with a persistent skills gap. However, there are promising initiatives underway to address these issues, including investments in STEM education and workforce development. By nurturing talent and fostering innovation, Ireland can position itself as a leader in the global STEM landscape. 

If you're a skilled professional seeking exciting opportunities in Ireland's thriving STEM sector we invite you to explore our jobs page on our website hero.ie We're constantly searching for talented individuals. You can also connect with us directly at deirdre@hero.ie to discuss your career goals. 

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