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71% of Ireland’s technology sector would use generative AI like ChatGPT in their business, according to our latest survey. The findings showed that sales and marketing is seen as the business function most likely to be affected by AI in the future (31%), followed by legal services (20%) and pharma & life sciences (16%).

The survey was carried out at our recent Technology Conference, Talent, Funding and the Future, which attracted more than 300 industry professionals to The Marker Hotel in Dublin. Visit the event page to read more or watch the video playbacks.

Keynote speaker Kenneth Cukier

Kenneth Cukier, author and Deputy Executive Editor of The Economist, delivered a keynote address and journalist and COO of Kinzen, Áine Kerr, chaired the event. Expert industry panels debated the most topical issues they are encountering in the technology sector.

Keynote speaker Kenneth Cukier commented: "AI is transformational, with blessings and horrors. But humans are smarter. We can imagine new realities, while AI depends on past data. To flourish in the AI age, we need to get better at being human."

When asked, 76% of technology companies said they expect retaining talent (44%) and recruiting (32%) to be their biggest HR issues in the coming 12 months. Just 11% expect redundancies to be the biggest HR issue they will face, with 13% identifying remote working as their greatest people challenge.

Melanie Crowley, our Head of Employment Law & Benefits, commented: “It is heartening to see that retention of talent still tops the agenda for Ireland’s technology sector. We are in an unusual environment where rationalisation is taking place at the same time as recruitment in the sector but, as we heard from the panel I chaired today on Human Capital, the overall outlook for employment in the sector remains positive.”

The survey also found that the vast majority of companies (78%) think that the terms demanded by investors are too “investor friendly", while one in three (33%) said that the funders and investors of their business were not aligned on the funding and investment strategy.

Anne Harkin, Corporate Partner, chaired the Equity & Investment panel and said: “What’s clear from today’s discussion is that there continues to be a good range of funding options available for tech companies in Ireland – there is plenty of capital available and waiting to be deployed, but for the right businesses. For investors, pragmatic growth plans for earlier stage companies and basic unit economies for later stage companies are both key. For companies and founders, finding investors who bring more to the table than money, and can be a real value-add in terms of expertise, is crucial.”

Commenting on the event, Partner and Head of our Technology Sector team, Oisín Tobin, said: “Our technology lawyers advise some of the world’s leading companies and, in a time of change and challenge, this event provides a forum for industry leaders to come together to reflect and focus on the future of the sector. We explored the key issues we are encountering with our clients, from managing talent to fundraising and investment and the potential and pitfalls of AI.”

L-R: Anne-Marie Tierney Le-Roux, Head of FDI - Technology, IDA; Áine Kerr, digital entrepreneur and MC; Siobhan O’Shea, Director, Scaled Business Success (EMEA/APAC), Indeed; Hannah Cronin, Director, Employment Legal (EMEA, APAC, LATAM & Canada), Pinterest, and Melanie Crowley, Partner and Head of Employment Law & Benefits, Mason Hayes & Curran.

Event MC Áine Kerr added: "The conference comes in the midst of a perfect storm for many. But these moments of change and crisis can present immense opportunities for Ireland's technology ecosystem to be part of radical solutions. Today, we've tried to look beyond the headlines regarding tech job losses, the fears around things like ChatGPT and the mixed fundraising climate for Irish companies to better understand what is still within our control and influence!"

Read more about the survey in the Irish Independent, Business Plus, Irish Legal News or Law Society of Ireland Gazette.

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