The increase in demand for ICT professionals in Ireland could lead to around 44,500 new ICT jobs being created during the next six years, according to new data from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and Forfás.

A new report entitled Addressing Future Demand for High-Level ICT Skills was put together in order to forecast potential demand for ICT workers.

The report notes that in 2012 there were around 68,280 ICT professionals working within the ICT sector and in other sectors of the economy.  Overall, the report forecasts that the increase in demand will be, on average, 5% per year up until 2018, which will increase the total number of professionals in the sector to around 91,000.

In order to reach this potential, the report also argues that potential policy levers will need to continue as they are. These include mainstream education and training, ongoing professional development, and conversion and re-skilling programmes.

During the last two years, the output of computer graduates in Ireland has actually increased by 25% and it is expected that this figure will increase again by 2015, which is three years ahead of the government's action plan regarding employment. The plan came as a result of collaboration between the government, the education system, and general industry.

Minister Richard Bruton said: "The ICT sector is of strategic importance to Ireland, both in terms of the numbers of jobs and its contribution to Ireland’s export performance, accounting for €70bn in exports per annum. ICT skills are already a key focus of the Action Plan for Jobs."