Design Talent Report Published



By Gerard Walker, Future Jobs-Skills-Work Insights

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs has published a new report entitled Together for Design: Digital, Product and Strategic Design Skills of the Future.


This report examines the future demand for design skills over the years 2020 to 2025 and can be accessed HERE.  It features a review of the design skills of students in Ireland, an assessment of relevant national and international policies to support and promote design, and the main drivers impacting on current and future design skills. This research was led by a Steering Group consisting of representatives across Government Departments, State Agencies, enterprise, education, and the design community. 


Design is seen as an important driver of economic growth, integral to both industry and society. It adds strategic value, creative thinking, and innovation from the earliest stages of development through to the final delivery of products and services. Three main types of design disciplines are identified as important for Ireland’s economic success, namely Digital, Product and Strategic design disciplines. These design skills are constantly evolving in response to new opportunities across technology and industry and are in high demand. IITD members and L&D professionals can play an important role in this regard.


The report forecasts that over the period 2020 to 2025, occupations in digital, product and strategic design could see an employment growth of between 21,000 to 33,000 in addition to the 44,000 currently employed in such jobs. Programmers and software professionals are anticipated to account for the majority of additional jobs. Currently, around 1,300 students graduate annually with the relevant design skills required from Higher and Further Education in Ireland, with an additional 700 graduates on different programmes who have studied relevant modules or course content. 


The findings emerging from the research work undertaken which includes a survey with key stakeholders in enterprise, the design community and industry suggest an undersupply of talent available to meet the growing demand for these design skills. To address this undersupply several strategic recommendations are made as follows. 

•    The need for a collective voice in design across academia, design community, and industry.
•    Policy interventions to address skill shortages in design skills including making use of available upskilling and reskilling funded opportunities. 
•    Collaboration between education and enterprise to help deliver the skills required and support the emergence of new design disciplines and career options.
•    Developing career options in design including the potential for design apprenticeships.
•    Embedding design in secondary schools while engaging with post-secondary education institutions to promote strategic design in their offerings.


Main Takeaway Messages
Design skills can add strategic value from the early stage of development through to the final delivery of products and services. Design graduates need the skills to be able to adapt to a changing market and to strategically apply their design skills to innovation, creative thinking and problem solving. For Ireland to realise its potential as a leading centre of design, it will need to boost its pipeline of design talent skills to meet enterprise demand.


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