The government in collaboration with the technology industry here has launched a new initiative aimed at attracting up to 3,000 technology professional into the country each year.

The plan comes amid growing competition for specialist IT talent in the Irish market, driven by strong growth of the sector here and around the world.

80,000 people work in the technology industry in Ireland, with that number continuing to grow.

Two years ago a report by a government appointed expert group predicted that between 12,750 and 21,000 jobs could be created here by technology companies by 2020.

But because of a global shortage of IT professionals, and an insufficient number of graduates here, demand is greater than supply. 

The Tech/Life Ireland campaign will use an international digital and social media marketing campaign, across multiple platforms including Twitter and LinkedIn, to highlight the attractions of moving to Ireland to work within the IT industry here.

It also has a dedicated website, www.techlifeireland.com.

It will initially focus on countries in Central and Southern Europe, which have shown evidence of talent movement, as well as search activity for jobs abroad.

The programme, which will cost €1.9 million over three years, will be funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

It will be delivered by Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and the technology industry here.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell-O'Connor, says a sufficient supply of talent is necessary if Ireland is to grow its domestic technology companies and continue to win foreign direct investment in the sector.

She added that the campaign will not lessen opportunities for Irish graduates, but will add to the diversity, knowledge base and experience here.

The programme has the backing of tech leaders here, including CEO of Storm Technology, Karl Flannery, who is chairing the delivery group.

"We have engaged extensively together to understand the needs of the industry in the coming years and to develop this initiative," he says.

Meanwhile, CAO applicants have been encouraged to consider a career in Computer Science and ICT, ahead of the change-of-mind deadline on Friday.

The Higher Education Authority recently published a document, entitled "What do graduates do?" which gave an insight into the lives of ICT professionals following completion of their third level courses.

It showed that within nine months, three quarters had secured jobs in Ireland within the industry, and two thirds were earning €29,000 or more.