Irish finance joins hunt for tech talent

Financial services in Ireland are now suffering a similar skills shortage to the one being felt by the industry in the UK, according to a new report.

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The report, 'Financial Services in Ireland – Skills of the Future', warns that the current unavailability of people with a well-rounded skill set poses a danger to the future success of the sector.Irish national broadcaster RTE reported on Tuesday that data analytics, machine learning, digital transformation, and risk and compliance were areas in the report - compiled by the trade body Financial Services Ireland (FSI) - as areas where the greatest skills gaps exist.The report comes at a time when the industry is Ireland has seen unprecedented expansion, largely due to Dublin being chosen by banks and related services as a favourite location to establish new EU hubs in the wake of Brexit.Patricia Callan, group director of FSI, said: "As the report states, Ireland is home to a vibrant and dynamic global financial services sector."Banking, insurance, asset management, funds industry, fintech, and securities markets contribute to a robust, diversified financial services ecosystem, employing over 52,000 people and generating €19.3 billion in GDP for Ireland."It is vital that we take action in the areas identified in the report to ensure we not only protect the jobs currently in the sector but build on the huge potential that international growth, particularly in the fintech sector, offers to Ireland."The FSI report had an echo in a UK survey last week by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PwC, which found that almost three-quarters of financial services firms were encountering such problems recruiting the skills needed that they had made upskilling and retraining existing staff a top priority.In Ireland, RTE reported: "The financial services sector is aiming to make Ireland one of the top 20 global financial centres by 2025 and the study found that talent will be key to achieving this."Sustainable finance was seen by respondents to the research as the greatest opportunity for the sector, followed by fintech."Greater gender diversity is also required, it found, while it also noted that Ireland is competing against other locations at a time when labour is in short supply."The report recommends that the task of attracting talent should be undertaken immediately and suggests that financial institutions should showcase themselves as being tech focused, innovative and world-class employers. It also says that mid-career employees should be targeted for upskilling and reskilling.Tracey Donnery, director of communications and policy at Skillnet Ireland, which helped compile the report, said changes to the financial services sector would be fuelled by the increasing pace of technological innovation and convergence."Responding to the increasing importance of ESG and sustainable finance will also be vital," she said. "Today's report and its recommendations will enable the industry to develop the talent to meet the challenges ahead and maintain Ireland's leading position."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted, July articles.

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