Irish contracting market on the up and up
Many big names are increasing their full time headcount in Ireland, and there are encouraging signs that demand for a range of contract skill sets will also increase over the coming months. Grainne Bagnall, manager of Verkom Dublin anticipates sustained growth over the next 18 months with a particular focus on Java and .Net, while Berkley IT Recruitment business unit manager Paddy O’Connell expects some normality to return to demand on the infrastructure side as companies release more capital for system/infrastructure upgrades.
Hugh McCarthy, IT division team leader at Brightwater says he has seen a notable increase in the volume of daily rate and fixed term contract roles coming through since the start of this year. “Many of these roles have arisen due to project based work, which is a good sign,” he said. “We are also seeing a proliferation of fixed term contract roles – there are companies who shed permanent staff in late 2008 and throughout 2009 who are now spread very thin in terms of resources but may be reluctant to rehire new permanent staff.”
While a number of high profile technology companies – including Citrix and SAP – are currently recruiting permanent IT staff in Ireland, a spokesperson for IBM in Ireland said the firm was still taking on contract staff with specific skills sets such as SAP. Most contract opportunities at IBM are for its Dublin integrated delivery centre, which delivers helpdesk, operations and technical server support to IBM clients across Europe.
IBM is also at the centre of a two-way battle for one of the most valuable technology projects in the country – the contract to manage Bank of Ireland’s IT infrastructure, which will move from HP when the current deal expires in early 2011.
That contract saw some 500 staff move from Bank of Ireland to HP six years ago. The new deal will be secured by either IBM (which employs around 3000 people in the Republic of Ireland and is one of the country’s largest IT employers) or HCL, which has some 2000 BPO staff in Northern Ireland. Incidentally, Ireland’s communications minister met senior HCL management in India in March to discuss the company’s plans for the Irish ICT market. A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland was unable to put an exact timeframe on when a decision would be made other than to say that the identity of the preferred bidder would be announced soon. ‘The next phase is for us to select one party to enter into exclusive negotiations with,’ she said of the contract, which was worth $600 million in 2004.