Digitalisation and sustainability highlighted as key areas for upskilling

The majority of Irish businesses believe their workforce will require upskilling to remain competitive and navigate modern challenges, a survey has found.

The research, conducted by Ipsos Behaviour & Attitudes for Skillnet Ireland, found most businesses feel workers will particularly require upskilling in the areas of sustainability and digitalisation.

Over the 500 business leaders surveyed, spanning organisations of all sizes, industries and regions, 65 per cent said staff would need upskilling for the digital transition, and 59 per cent said the same regarding climate action and sustainability.

For large businesses, robotic process automation, cloud computing and artificial intelligence were each pinpointed as key areas for upskilling, underlining the place of technology in modern workplaces.

The research found larger companies have an overall positive outlook, 94 per cent of which said they are confident about the future, compared to just 49 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Just over half of SMEs also reported difficulty in recruiting staff with the necessary skills, highlighting cybersecurity, financial management, sales and marketing as key skills needed to drive growth.

"We are listening to businesses all the time to identify skills gaps and provide solutions that support firms in boosting their competitiveness," Skillnet Ireland's chief executive Paul Healy said.

He added that while businesses will continue to face challenges posed by digital and climate transition, "maintaining a strong talent pipeline is key in tackling these changes".