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 Eileen Faherty from Construction Industry Federation to give some advice for people considering this job:


Eileen Faherty

Electrician / Quantity Surveyor

Construction Industry Federation

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  Eileen Faherty
My advice would be that if you are not afraid of hard work that construction can be a very rewarding industry. It is a constantly changing industry which is interesting to work in.

To be a QS the main values would be to be interested in dealing with financial data and be happy to work as part of a team. Having an interest in construction generally outside of the commercials will also help as it keeps you interested in the projects you are working on apart from what they cost.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Engineering Occupations

Key points for selected engineering occupations

  • In 2015, there were approximately 27,000 persons employed in the selected engineering occupations, representing 1.4% of national employment.
  • Almost 80% of overall employment was concentrated in three sectors: 50% in manufacturing (mostly pharmaceuticals and machinery/equipment), with almost an additional 20% in professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly architectural/engineering activities), and 11% in information and communication.
  • Just over 50% of total employment was at professional level (i.e. engineers); the remainder was at technician level.
  • Between 2010 and 2015, employment growth in engineering occupations was the strongest recorded amongst the 17 broad occupational groups examined (6% on average annually); the strongest growth rates were observed for process, production and QA technicians (12.7% on average annually) and production, design and QC engineers (10.9%); in contrast, the weakest growth rates were observed for electrical/electronic engineers and other engineering professionals (each at just over 1% on average annually)  
  • With the exception of other engineering professionals, over four fifths of persons employed in each occupation was aged 25-54 ; almost a quarter of those employed as other engineering professionals was aged 55 or older
  • Over 90% of employed engineering professionals were third level graduates; the share was 70% for engineering technicians
  • Over four fifths of those employed in engineering professional occupations were male; the share was just over 70% for technicians; two fifths of employed process, production and QA techicians were female – the highest share of females among the selected occupations
  • The majority of employed engineering professionals and technicians worked fulltime and were Irish-nationals.

Shortage Indicators

The majority of the 27,000 people working in engineering occupations in 2015 were employed in the manufacturing or professional, scientific and technical activities sectors.

The age profile of those in engineering occupations is younger than the national average and exits to retirement are therefore expected to be relatively small.

The total replacement demand for engineering professionals is estimated to be less than 2,000 annually.

The expected strong performance of the industry, is likely to bring the annual recruitment requirement to well over 2,000.

Strong demand for engineering skills is confirmed in numerous job announcements including Shire (biotechnology), Merck (pharma), Grant Engineering (heating equipment), DePuy (medical devices), CRI Medical Devices and Chanelle Group (human/vet pharma).

The vacancy data for 2015 supports this finding (there were almost 3,000 engineering professional vacancies advertised on the PES and portals alone).

The number of third level engineering graduates is estimated at 4,800, more than half of which were at NFQ 8 or higher.

In addition, in May 2016, there were 280 engineers and 220 engineering technicians (with at least a degree-level (NFQ 7) qualifications) who were job ready job seekers.

Despite a significant supply of engineering skills emerging from the education system and a number of unemployed persons with engineering skills, shortages continue to exist.

At professional level, shortages have been identified for engineers, typically for roles in pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturing. The demand relates largely to those with significant experience (at least five years) in industry specific settings.

Job titles include:

  • Process/bioprocess engineers: experience and specific skills sets, including: process analytical technology (PAT) and quality by design (QbD); process safety; lean processes (Green Belt, Black Belt)
  • Automation/validation/commissioning engineers: with experience in CSV/CQV; lean processes
  • quality/QC/QA engineers & other regulatory affairs professionals
  • R&D engineers: development of new technologies and therapies (e.g. gene and stem cell therapy; biologics, etc.)
  • Chemical/chemical process engineers
  • Mechanical engineers: with skills and experience in polymer engineering and injection moulding
  • Electrical engineers
  • Global and industrial managers and engineers (10 years’ experience): mostly for export-manufacturing sectors.

At technician level, shortages have been identified for:

  • Quality assurance technicians
  • Injection moulding technicians
  • Polymer engineering technicians
  • Biotechnology technicians
  • Extrusion technicians
  • Process technologists
  • Maintenance technicians.

There also appears to be an issue with geographical mobility and the ability to attract candidates to certain locations.

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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