What a rise in CAO applications for IT and Computer Science courses means for future employment.
Is remote working a route to career suicide? If the most recent results from the CAO applications are any indication, future graduates disagree. They believe that remote working is the way of the future, as computer science and technology courses have seen record growth of applications through the CAO this year.
Skills And The Pandemic:
While government officials have previously pushed students to pursue further education in computer science, it’s taken a pandemic for us to see the benefits of possessing a qualification in computer science. In our previous article: Employee Benefits Management, we discussed how the pandemic has forced us to revaluate our priorities, bringing work-life balance and hybrid working arrangements into the forefront of almost all employment negotiations. It could be perceived that the desire to maintain this work environment has spurred this push towards obtaining employable skills in technology and computer science given the job growth for individuals with skills such as:
- Programming languages
- Data analysis
- Technical writing
- Software development
- Cloud skills
- Mathematical skills
According to the CSO 79% of professionals in the IT sector worked either partially or fully remote in 2020 and therefore were unreliant on the pandemic unemployment payment. Many of the skills from these courses in IT and computer science lend their expertise into alternative avenues of employment as well, such as marketing, security, facilities management, administration and accounting. Perhaps the current round of CAO applicants has seen the writing on the walls over the past two years and believe that job seekers with this skill set are highly desirable to employers and like their parents, they can benefit from a positive work-life balance through a blended or remote work environment as soon as they graduate.
Desire for IT Skills:
Given the recent round of layoffs by tech giants such as Google, Meta and Microsoft, it’s hard to believe students would choose to study courses in technology and computer science without a back-up plan. Well, as recruitment experts, we have seen an increase in the demand for IT skills from employers in almost all sectors over the last 2 years. Therefore we believe that having a degree in technology and computer science can be seen as the equivalent of possessing a general arts degree like a few years ago, where graduates possessed an opportunity for immediate professional employment upon completing their course.
Creating a Highly Skilled Workforce:
However, it is more likely that a high portion of these students will continue their studies to obtain a postgraduate qualification, potentially in an additional field. According to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) there were 30,275 individuals who sought postgraduate third level qualifications in 2021 an increase of over 3,500 from 2020 figures. It is likely that that this trend for postgraduate qualifications will continue to rise in popularity by 2026. We estimate over 40k graduates will seek a postgraduate qualification. Given the potential to diversify and specialise their skills, it is likely many postgraduate qualifications will range in fields of expertise making these future candidates highly skilled beyond our current workforce.
With the recent announcement by Minister Eamon Ryan of plans to reduce private car usage by adding a congestion charge for driving in the capital as well as an increase to parking costs by 400%, perhaps these CAO applicants have more foresight than the rest of us targeting jobs where they are most likely to be offered remote or blended work environments and avoiding these additional costs.
Like our current job market, future job seekers also desire a blended work environment. And businesses who are slow to adapt to a blended work policy should reflect on their business practices, as the skilled workforce they rely on may become too scarce to source.