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 Afra Ronayne from ESB to give some advice for people considering this job:


Afra Ronayne

Mechanical Engineer


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  Afra Ronayne
I would advise somebody considering this job to talk to people who are engineers already. They should try to talk to people working in different areas of engineering as even when people do the same degree they can have very different day to day jobs, from full time office based jobs to full time site based jobs.

Also it is important to remember that even if you complete an engineering degree you are not limited to a purely technical career as there are plenty of other areas you can get involved in like project management or finance.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Labour Market Sector Profiles

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Construction Craft Occupations

Key points for selected construction craft occupations

  • In 2015, there were approximately 66,000 persons employed in the selected construction craft occupations, representing 3.3% of the national workforce.
  • 80% of overall employment was concentrated in construction
  • In 2015, overall employment had broadly recovered to the 2010 level.
  • Since 2012, employment has been increasing, particularly in the last year (by 13.4%, with a net 8,000 additional jobs created).
  • Between 2010 and 2015, negative employment growth rates were observed for all occupations (excluding painters & decorators), although very modest for some occupations.
  • The most pronounced decline was observed for plasterers (8.4% on average annually, or almost 2,000 persons).
  • Between 2014 and 2015, employment expanded for most occupations; the largest absolute increases were observed for other construction trades, carpenters & joiners and plumbers; in contrast, decreases were observed for plasterers.
  • At 66% and over, the majority of those employed in each occupation was aged 25-54; the age profile of employed plasterers, bricklayers and other construction trades workers was the most mature, with almost one quarter aged 55 or older.
  • The share of persons employed in the selected construction craft occupations who had attained higher secondary/FET qualifications (at almost 65%) and lower secondary or less qualifications (at almost 25%) was well above the respective national average share of 37% and 15%.
  • The share who had attained third level qualifications (at 11%) was considerably below the national average (48%).
  • Employment in most occupations was almost exclusively male
  • Most construction craft workers were in full-time employment; however, the share in part-time employment was above the national average for plasterers, at almost 30%.
  • While the share of non-Irish national workers in most occupations was similar to the national average (15%), it was above average for plasterers, at almost 30%.
  • In quarter 4 2015, the overall unemployment rate for construction craft workers (aged 15-74) measured 17% (almost double the national average rate).

Shortage Indicators

Over the last year, recovery in the construction sector has been extending from commercial to the more labour-intensive residential building, resulting in employment growth in most construction craft occupations.

There was a noticeable increase in construction related job vacancies advertised in 2015, albeit with a significant share for temporary contracts. While some of the notified vacancies were arising due to replacement, as well as due to changes of employers (high turnover has been identified for a number of construction craft occupations), expansion demand was also a contributor.

There is still a considerable overhang of construction skills in the Irish labour market: in May 2016, there were over 1,600 bricklayers, 1,100 plumbers, 3,100 carpenters, 1,600 plasterers and 2,100 painters/decorators seeking employment through the Public Employment Service (PES).

It should be noted, however, that a significant number of job seekers in each of these occupations has a Leaving Certificate or lower level of qualification. As a result, the availability of qualified tradespersons (i.e. NFQ 6 advanced certificate) may become an issue as the recovery accelerates.

Despite the excess supply of most construction skills at present, a shortage of skills has been identified for the following occupations:

  • Curtain wallers
  • Glaziers
  • Steelfixer, steel erectors
  • Pipelayers
  • Shuttering carpentry
  • Shift managers and supervisors.

As the recovery in the construction industry extends beyond the larger urban areas, location and geographic mobility are expected to emerge as factors in rendering some construction skills difficult to source.

In addition, the current level of apprentice intake, particularly in wet-trades, is low. As it takes four years for an apprentice to fully qualify, the training output is likely to lag behind the demand arising from the anticipated strong growth in residential development. This may lead to shortages in the medium term.

Labour Market Research 21

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our labour market.

Regional Labour Markets Bulletin October 2016 
A Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS.
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2014 
Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market
Research Unit in SOLAS aimed at providing an analysis of the key labour market indicators for each of Ireland’s eight administrative
regions: Border, Dublin, Mid-East, Midland, Mid-West, South-East, South-
Addressing the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics Sector in Ireland 2015 – 2020 
February 2015 EGFSN report assessing the skills and competency requirements for the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector in Ireland up to 2020
Vacancy Overview 2014 - EFGSN 
The Vacancy Overview 2014 produced May 2015 by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS on behalf of the EGFSN, draws on data from newly advertised job vacancies in the following sources: DSP Jobs Ireland and The analysis focuses
Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply 
July 2015 report on those entering and leaving the Irish education system (primary, post-primary,further education and training, and higher education) spanning the ten levels of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2015 
Annual report produced by the EGFSN which identifies variations in skills supply and demand across 8 regions (Border, Dublin, Mid East, Mid-West, Midland, South East, South West and West).
Assessment of Future Skills Requirements in the Hospitality Sector in Ireland 2015-2020 
Report from the EGFSN assessing the skills demand within the Hospitality sector in Ireland to 2020 to ensure the right supply of skills to help drive domestic hospitality sector business and employment growth.
Vacancy Overview 2015 - EGFSN May 2016 
A report produced by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs contextualising 2015 vacancy data with what is occurring in the Irish labour market
Future Skills Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland August 2016 
This report reviews the supply of, and demand for, skills within the Biopharma Industry in Ireland up to 2020, with a specific focus on Biologics manufacturing as a growing sub-sector within the industry. It is estimated that 8,400 potential job openings
Assessing the Demand for Big Data and Analytics Skills 2013 - 2020 
May 2014 EGFSN report identifying measures to build up the Big Data and analytics talent pool in Ireland over the period up to 2020 in line with enterprise demand.
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Current Labour Market Info 4

These sites provide news of current events that relate to our evolving labour market.

IBEC Quarterly Economic Trends 
Download publication in PDF format.
SCSI Employment Opportunities & Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying 2014-18 
New report April 2014 from SCSI outlining the Employment Opportunities and Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying projected from 2014-2018
Shortage of craft/entry level staff in the Hotel Sector 
Hotels and guesthouses are experiencing serious difficulties recruiting suitably qualified craft/entry level staff - IHF Annual Conference 24/2/14
National Skills Bulletin 2015 
The National Skills Bulletin 2015 provides an overview of the Irish labour market at occupational level, drawing on a variety of data sets, which have been systematically gathered in the National Skills Database (NSD) since 2003.

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