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US firms need 2,000 Irish workers but say the skills aren't there

American companies complain that they can’t find Irish workers with the right skills.

Image: Photocall Ireland

US COMPANIES WORKING in Ireland are currently looking for 2,000 workers to fill vacant positions but many are finding it difficult to pin down the perfect candidates.

Despite the country’s massive unemployment rates and the over 440,000 people signed onto the Live Register, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland (ACCI) has said there is a skills shortage blocking employment.

The problem has become increasingly obvious in the science and technology fields, according to the ACCI.

Following the launch of the American Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Activation Survey today, President of the Chamber Gerard Kilcommins said 30 per cent of vacant roles in the US firms are taking longer than three months to fill.

This reflects “a lack of suitable skills and experience for specific roles,” he said, adding that Ireland’s attractiveness has always been based on a highly-educated, skilled workforce.

Skills gaps are starting to emerge…this needs to be addressed urgently to protect existing and future investments.

Kilcommins also warned that  “any planned or proposed changes to Ireland’s employment legislation” should not impact on its reputation for flexibility in the labour force.

At the ACCI’s Independence Day lunch today, Kilcommins told the audience of businesspeople:

Ireland remains a very good place to do business but competition from countries throughout Europe and Asia is intensifying. We cannot afford to stand still; … we owe it to ourselves and those coming after us to get the message out there that this country’s flexible, enterprise and investment -friendly environment is a reality, not a slogan.

The figures:

  • About 100,000 people are directly employed by more than 600 US companies in Ireland.
  • In 2010, over 800 college graduates were hired by US firms.
  • This year US companies in Ireland expect to employ an extra 896 people.
  • Of the 109 companies who responded to the ACCI survey, about 90 per cent are currently recruiting new staff members.

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