Belfast Telegraph

European search aims to attract best in IT

By Staff Reporter

Tech professionals across Europe are currently being targeted to plug Northern Ireland's immediate skills gap through a major new initiative by the sector. Representatives from Belfast-based IT3Sixty are this week attending recruitment fairs in Madrid, followed by planned visits to Helsinki, Krakow and Athens.

The plan - devised by a consortium of local IT companies - is to raise the profile of job opportunities here and attract workers to Northern Ireland.

Employers involved in the initiative include Liberty IT, Citi, Equiniti ICS, Deloitte, TotalMobile, Iconi, Version 1, Intel and Civica.

The group will also be running a major online recruitment fair at the start of 2016, supported by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) and the pan-European EURES network.

A digital hub dedicated to promoting Northern Ireland and job openings here to IT professionals across Europe has also been created at

The development of this portal was co-funded by Invest Northern Ireland through its Collaborative Network programme.

Clair Gheel of IT3Sixty said the initiative is part of a significant coordinated approach by the Northern Ireland IT community.

"Northern Ireland has seen a 90% increase in applications for IT university courses since 2009, meaning that the longer-term pipeline of skills looks quite healthy. There is also a significant amount of work ongoing to ensure skills development continues.

"But such has been the rate of expansion of Northern Ireland's technology industry, there is an immediate shortage of experienced, skilled professionals that is hindering the sector," she said. "IT has the highest rate of job vacancies of all sectors in Northern Ireland and IT3Sixty is spearheading an innovative approach by the sector to provide a solution.

"Working with government, IT3Sixty's immediate goal is to increase the talent pool of new IT professionals in Northern Ireland by attracting Europe's best and brightest.

"Before we've even really begun, we already have the CVs of over 100 quality skilled European IT professionals who are interested in relocating here."

Major employers have been warning for some time that growth in the tech sector is being hindered by a shortage of skilled workers, and many have been actively recruiting outside Northern Ireland, as well as raising their profile in local schools and colleges in a bid to persuade more young people to choose degrees in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).

There have also been efforts over the past decade to promote local tech jobs to Northern Ireland expats working in the industry in Great Britain and further afield.

Niall Casey, Invest NI's director of skills and strategy, said: "The development of the IT3Sixty portal is a welcome resource which will be used to target experienced IT professionals, local students undertaking relevant courses at overseas colleges, the NI diaspora, as well as EU nationals, and to encourage these people to apply for jobs in Northern Ireland.

"In addition to the pool of talent already working or studying in this sector, there are opportunities for others to consider a career change in order to capitalise on this growing market. IT3Sixty's efforts will make a valuable contribution in ensuring Northern Ireland has the IT skills it needs to succeed in the global digital economy."

European search aims to attract best in IT

Belfast Telegraph