LACK OF IT SKILLS ONE OF THE BIGGEST POTENTIAL FUTURE PROBLEM AREA FOR COMPANIES, WARNS ACCENTURE - Seven out of ten employers believe the inability to access appropriately skilled workers will impact their growth prospects, according to a study by consultants Accenture. The most prominent skills gap today is in business and management, followed by science, engineering and maths. Companies identified IT skills as the biggest potential future problem area.

Mark Ryan, Managing Director of Accenture Ireland, says that some of the findings were quite worrying and, as well as having serious impact on individual company growth, could have implications for broader economic growth. "We've two problems, and a paradox. We've over 14% unemployment and acute skills gaps where roles can't be filled," Mark Ryan says. He says the solution was three-pronged with the need for Government, the third level education sector and businesses themselves to come together to come up with a solution. "Businesses have a major role to play. They need to see themselves not just as consumers of skills but developers. 30% of businesses we spoke to saw themselves as a potential solution to the problem. If they move people through the company and equip them, that will create positions at an entry level and those jobs can be filled by unemployed people," he says. The study also identified that 40% of businesses are struggling to fill IT roles and they see the problem getting worse. "There has never been a recession in the IT sector. If we don't address the skills gap in this area, the problem will get worse," Mark Ryan concludes.


MORNING BRIEFS - Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is widely expected to be elected chair of the Eurogroup today at a meeting of EU finance Ministers. He will take over from Luxembourg premier, Jean-Claude Junker. The treatment of legacy debts by the ESM is also expected to be discussed at that meeting. That could affect taxpayer investment in the main pillar banks.

*** Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies created 700 new jobs last year, according to its annual report. Total employment in Údarás client companies stood at just over 7,500 at the end of the year. When full-time job losses are taken into consideration, there was a net loss of 37 jobs overall. 2012 saw the lowest rate of job losses in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies for well over a decade.

*** Japan's transport ministry is to investigate the company that makes batteries for Boeing's grounded 787 Dreamliner passenger jet. The investigation will be run jointly with the US Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities around the world grounded the new lightweight aircraft, and Boeing halted deliveries after a problem with a lithium-ion battery prompted an emergency landing on a Japanese domestic flight last week.