Forfás, Ireland's policy advisory board for enterprise and science, predicts that the Irish government's faith in the digital sector could reap huge returns as long as it maintains its focus on creating skills in maths, statistics and management science.
The Forfás report, which was put together in conjunction with the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), identifies steps that may be taken to increase the number of skilled workers in the areas of big data and data analytics - areas in which skills are in short supply globally.
The report notes that, as yet, no one country or region has taken the lead in the provision of data analytics services. This lack of a global leader in the area means that there is a significant opportunity for Ireland to put itself in such as position.
21,000 potential job vacancies for skilled professionals could be created by 2020 under the report’s high-growth scenario, with some 3,630 for deep analytical roles and 17,470 for big data-savvy roles.
'This joint Forfás and EGFSN report highlights the need to boost the output and quality of our analytical talent to take advantage of potential job openings and business opportunities,' said Forfás chief executive Martin Shanahan.
'The report highlights the supporting conditions necessary if Ireland is to position itself as a leading data analytic country in Europe. These conditions include greater access to open data, a boost in domestic talent supply, and ensuring international competitiveness.
'Many of the elements to support the development of data analytics and big data are already in place in Ireland, including the existing base of enterprises in this space and a growing base of relevant publicly funded research activity, including the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and the Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research.'