Half of Ireland's tech workers think their skills will be obsolete in a decade

But IT professionals continue to be in hot demand with most fielding headhunting calls several times a year.

By Peter Bodkin Editor, Fora

HALF OF IRELAND’S tech professionals expect their work to be automated in 10 years – and that their current skills will be effectively made obsolete.

The findings come from the latest survey of tech workers from recruitment firm Harvey Nash, which polled more than 300 Ireland-based staff as part of a global study.

But despite automation fears, which were highest among those in IT testing and operations roles, the survey results also showed that tech staff continued to be in hot demand.

The professionals polled had received, on average, at least seven headhunting calls within the past year, with software engineers and developers the most likely to field interest from recruiters.

Harvey Nash technology head of practice Gavin Fox said tech careers were in a constant state of flux with roles being automated in some areas while new opportunities appeared in other disciplines.

“In this rapidly changing world the winners will be the technology professionals who take responsibility for their own skills development, and continually ask: ‘Where am I adding value that no other person – or machine – can add?’”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Virtual reality was expected to be the biggest growth area for Irish companies, with almost all respondents predicting it would be an important development in their firm within five years
  • The industry continues to be male-dominated, with only 16% of global respondents women – only a small increase on the 13% share from 2013
  • More than anything, young tech staff aspire to be ‘entrepreneurs’. That was the preferred career title among those under 30, followed by the jobs of chief technology officer or CEO

The survey findings follow a warning from the government’s National Risk Assessment earlier this year that tens of thousands of jobs in Ireland are at high risk of disappearing due to automation.

It highlighted the need to focus on retraining staff displaced by technology change, with those involved in jobs that required large amounts of routine tasks most likely to have their work rendered redundant.