Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked John Harding from ESB to give some advice for people considering this job:


John Harding

Mechanical Engineer


Read more

  John Harding
To be an engineer, a person must firstly have a degree. Having an interest in what you are working at is always half the battle. Being technically minded is also a great benefit.

The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Career Interviews
Sector Profiles
School Subjects (LC)
College Courses
Study Skills
Work Experience (School)
CV & Interview Preparation
Building, Construction & Property
logo imagelogo image
Return to List
Building, Construction & Property
Building, Construction & Property
Work & Employment
Employment Trends
Occupations in Demand
Sample Occupations
Education & Training
Further Ed/PLC Courses
Higher Ed/ CAO Courses
Other Courses
Sector Experts

Employer Profiles

  In Focus...
At a Glance... header image

Building, Construction & Property

Building and Construction is the process of creating structures and buildings, which in turn become Property. This sector is at the core of our environment - from small property renovations, such as the addition of a room, or renovation of a bathroom, to the multi-million Euro development of  motorways, housing estates, shopping centres or office blocks.

Career areas within Building, Construction and Property are wide-ranging from general site labouring with little or no construction qualifications needed, to Technical and Management roles requiring degree level educational standards, and Professionals with specialist skills and qualifications.

Building & Construction header image

The Building and Construction sector has a dual role in Ireland’s economy:

  • As a sector in its own right, it directly provides 96,300 jobs across a variety of occupations and levels of skill, accounting for 5.2% of total employment and 6.4% of GNP. An additional 48,000 indirect jobs are provided through the sector. (Forfás, July 2013)
  • The sector also provides and maintains the physical infrastructures and buildings on which other industry sectors, and society depends. 

The construction sector is currently comprised of over 40,500 enterprises, significantly less that in the boomtime of 2006. However, the overall company size profile remains roughly the same, with the vast majority (96.7%) being small companies, employing less than 10 people.

For detailed information on the up-to-date situation in the sector with regard to employment opportunities and career prospects visit the "Ask the Experts" section on this page.

Useful Career Sheets from STEPS to Engineering [pdf files]
Building Services
Civil Engineering
Engineering Life
Building Services Engineering
Civil Engineering
Engineering Life

A career in construction really depends on how much physical or technical work you want and the level you decide you want to work at. 

Like most areas of work it’s only when we do a little research that we begin to unravel a surprising range of both interesting and rewarding careers.

When something is under construction or indeed in the pre-planning construction stage, it is referred to as a building project. Construction projects are varied and can include house building, building of schools and hospitals, water supply networks, transport systems, and power stations.

In order to achieve the high level of quality required in the construction industry it is important to produce highly skilled personnel who are trained to adapt to new technologies. The industry is now very much management oriented and most people working in construction have third level degrees.

Careers in construction can be divided into four areas:

  • Construction Craft Workers (Operatives, Labourers)
  • Trade Craftspeople (FÁS four year apprenticeships)
  • Engineers and Quantity Surveyors.
  • Architects

Construction Craft Workers

Over 40,000 people work as general operatives in the construction sector. In the past, these jobs were referred to as 'labourers' and regarded as unskilled roles. Today, these on-site jobs have become more specialised - Steel workers, Pipe layers, Scaffolders, Heavy goods vehicle drivers, Machine operatives, Asphalt layers and Demolition workers - all require a good deal of training and skill. 

Training for construction craft workers is sometimes offered ‘on the job’ but an approved certified course is becoming the norm. The slow down in the sector has resulted in little employment for general operatives in this area and has also made it very difficult to get apprenticeships. However, this situation is now set to improve.

In order to work in any capacity on a building site you must have a Safe Pass Certificate.

Trade Craftspeople

There are a large number of Trade Craftspeople operating in this sector. Trades in the industry divide into 'wet trades' (trades which use dry building materials that are mixed with water e.g concrete, mortar or plaster) and 'dry trades'.

  • Brick and Stonelayer
  • Plasterer
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter/joiner
  • Painter/Decorator
  • Tiler
  • Construction plant fitter
  • Fitter

Craftspeople in these trades have been trained as apprentices under the Designated Crafts Scheme organised by SOLAS (formerly FÁS).

Professional Careers

The construction of any major building project is a feat of co-ordination and involves managing a range of people with specialist skills. The professionals in the construction industry are: The architects who plan and develop designs for the construction project; The civil engineers who evaluate, research and manage a variety of major civil engineering schemes; The building surveyors who examine existing properties advising on any defects; The quantity surveyors who calculate the cost of the building project and the much sought after construction managers who plan and manage the operations.

Each of these professionals has spent a number of years in third level education and must meet the specific requirements of their professional bodies.

Others work as Technicians alongside the professionals. Technicians carry out duties under the supervision of their respective professionals. They too are likely to have taken a course in 3rd Level (Level 6 or 7) in one of the IT Colleges around the country.

Engineering Careers - Download the 2015 Engineering Sector Overview from

Opportunities in the Building and Construction Sectore will remain into the future, especially for those with specialist and professional skills.

Featured Content


Property header image

There are many career options in The Property Sector, offering a choice of areas to specialise in - from commercial property to residential; surveying to planning and even fund management.

Commercial Property 
This involves services related to the ownership and occupation of property used for commercial purposes, such as offices, shops and warehouses.

Commercial is one of the biggest and most popular sub sectors of the property business, and also one of the most competitive areas. You could work in an area such as Occupational Agency (finding properties for businesses), Investment Property or Landlord and Tenant. 

Residential Property 
This area encompasses anything from a millionaire’s mansion to affordable housing developments. Services include valuation, development, marketing, mortgage-broking and investment advice. Almost any position involves a good deal of variety – a range of property types and clients from private individuals to property developers.

Most jobs in this area require third level education, and graduates tend to find work as Valuation surveyors, Property development surveyors, Property managers, or Investment advisers.


What on earth in surveying? Video explaining what working in land, property and surveying is all about.


Surveyors are highly trained and experienced professionals that are typically employed throughout the Construction, Land and Property sectors. They work across all aspects of the built and natural environment for a variety of employers, including auctioneers, valuers, developers, construction firms, facilities management, as well as county councils and state agencies. They generally specialise in one of the following areas:


  • Quantity Surveyor – advises on the costs of developing all types of buildings and infrastructure.
  • Building Surveyor – carries out building surveys and provides management and design consultancy services.


  • Geomatic Surveyor – maps the built and natural environment to provide accurate spatial data which facilitates planning, development and conservation.
  • Mineral Surveyor – provides expertise in the full life cycle of mineral development.


  • Residential Agency Surveyor – provides professional expertise in the valuation, management, letting and sale of residential property.
  • Commercial Agency Surveyor - provides professional expertise in the valuation, management, letting and sale of commercial property.
For more information of types of surveyors click here.

While the property sector has contracted in recent years, it is anticipated that there will be greater opportunities for graduates. Many large property agencies have graduate programmes which provide excellent training in all aspects of property – from commercial (offices, retail, industrial), residential sales and lettings, professional services and property management.

In the future, graduates will enter a far more regulated property and construction sector and high standards of education and qualifications will be a prerequisite for employers and clients in the public and private sectors.

Professional membership of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland is a sign of high standards of professionalism in the construction, land and property sectors.

Some of the many college courses available include an industrial placement year, when students can apply their learning in the workplace, gain practical experience and forge industry links. Colleges include DIT Bolton Street and the Institutes of Technology.

Town Planning
Planners are involved in making long and short-term decisions about the management and development of cities, town, villages and the countryside. Most Town Planners work in the public service with local authorities but many have consultancy roles within the architecture and construction areas.

Planning is a broad area of work that requires many different skills. Some planners specialise in a particular area of work. Key planning activities include:

  • Researching and designing planning policies to guide development
  • Developing creative and original planning solutions to satisfy all parties
  • Consulting with stakeholders and other interested parties and negotiating with developers and other professionals, such as surveyors and architects
  • Assessing planning applications and enforcing and monitoring outcomes as necessary
  • Researching and analysing data to help inform strategic developments
  • Designing layouts and drafting design statements
  • Using information technology systems such as CAD (computer-aided design) or GIS (geographical information systems)
  • Attending and presenting at planning boards and appeals and at public inquiries
  • Keeping up to date with legislation associated with land use
  • Promoting environmental education and awareness
  • Writing reports, often of a complex nature, which make recommendations or explain detailed regulations

DIT runs a diploma in Planning and Environmental Management which trains technicians in urban and rural planning.

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers run several courses. For more information click here.

Auctioneers and Estate Agents are involved in the sale, letting, management and valuation of property. Generally, they work either in partnerships or practice on their own account. The career is suitable for those with an interest in people and property.

With the property profession now covering such a broad range of property-related aspects, graduates may work in many different areas, such as:

  • Sales by auction, tender or private treaty of land or residential/commercial/investment property
  • Valuations for sale, purchase, letting, mortgage, rating, insurance, tax and other purposes
  • Handling the purchase of property or land
  • Letting and management of all types of property or land
  • Sales and valuations of fine art/antiques, plant, machinery, livestock and other chattels
  • Compulsory purchase order disposals/acquisitions and town planning compensation
  • Acting as arbitrators and expert valuers for rent review purposes
  • Representing either landlords or tenants in rent reviews, or in relation to lease renewals under landlord and tenant legislation

New areas such as on-line auctioneering are showing promising signs for the future. DIT, Limerick IT and Galway-Mayo IT run degree programmes in this area.

Visit the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers website for more information.

New opportunities continue to emerge in this sector and graduates find work in areas as diverse as banking and insurance. To practise professionally as an auctioneer, you must be fully qualified in all the legal, technical and other aspects of the business. You will also need to have an outgoing personality, like working with different people daily and have good negotiating and communication skills.

To practise as an auctioneer it is also necessary to have a special license issued by the Revenue Commissioners. You must be over 21, lodge a €12,700 deposit, obtain an auditor's certificate and apply to a District Justice for a certificate of Qualification. This license must be renewed annually.

Featured Content


Career Videosheader image

Course Videos header image

Useful Links header image
Total Records: 12
Full Address
Phone Number
The National Trust for Ireland, Tailors' Hall, Back Lane, Dublin, 8.
(01) 454 1786
Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin, 6.
(01) 406 6000
Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare St., Dublin, 2.
(01) 631 3894
22, Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, 4.
(01) 665 1300
IPAV HQ, 129 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, 2.
(01) 678 5685
Sycamore House, Millennium Park, Osberstown, Naas, Co. Kildare.
(045) 899 341
9-13 Blackhall Place, Dublin, 7
(01) 799 4519
Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
(01) 802 5300
38 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
(01) 661 1794
TEEU, 6 Gardiner Row, Dublin 1
(01) 874 7047
8, Merrion Square, Dublin, 2.
(01) 676 1703
UCATT House, 56 Parnell Square West, Dublin, 1.
(01) 873 1599

Job Search

By Career Sector