Key points for selected other craft occupations
- In 2015, there were approximately 113,000 persons employed in other craft occupations, representing 5.7% of the national workforce.
- Approximately 70% of overall employment was concentrated in three sectors: manufacturing (almost 40%), wholesale and retail (18%) and construction (14%).
- Almost 75% of overall employment was concentrated in three trades: electrical & electronic (31%), metal machining, fitting and instrument making (25%) and vehicle (17%).
- In 2015, overall employment levels were very similar to the 2010 level (average annual growth was only 0.2%).
- Over the five year period, however, the change in employment varied by occupation, with growth observed for metal machining, fitting & instrument making trades (6.5% on average annually) and metal forming, welding & related trades (6% on average annually); the former group of trades experienced the largest increase in the numbers employed (approximately 8,000); in contrast, the strongest rates of decline were observed for printing trades (6.9% on average annually) and electrical & electronic trades (3.5% on average annually).
- Between 2014 and 2015, employment levels in most occuptions did not change significantly, with the most pronounced change observed for vehicle trades (with a 2,500 decrease).
- Approximately 75% of all persons employed in the selected occupations was aged 25-54; metal forming, welding & related trades had the youngest workforce, with 17% aged 15-24 ─ above the national average share.
- Approximately 57% of all persons employed in the selected occupations had attained higher secondary/FET qualifications, considerably above the national average of 37%; in contrast, the share with third level qualifications (almost 30%) was below the national average; however, the share with third level qualifications varied by occupation: almost 40% of employed electrical & electronic engineers had attained this level of education (within this category, the share was just over 80% for computer repair and maintenance engineers); in contrast, the corresponding share was only 7% for butchers, fishmongers and related trades.
- Approximately 30% of all employed butchers, fishmongers and related trades were non-Irish nationals ─ the highest share and above the national average.
- The majority of other craftspersons in employment were male and worked fulltime; the workforce of other skilled trades workers had the highest female representation, at 30%.
- The evidence points to a growing demand for electricians, which is reflected in the increased number of job vacancies advertised in 2015, as well as the fact that employers are experiencing difficulty in sourcing these skills from within the EEA area (approximately 90 employment permits were issued in 2015);
- A simultaneous presence of a large number of job seekers (2,000 in May 2016) and vacancies (3,400 in May 2016), coupled with transitions data, point at a higher than average turnover rate.
- A significant portion of job seekers (electricians) hold at most Junior Certificate qualifications, indicating that sourcing suitably qualified electricians may be an issue for employers
- Supply from the apprenticeship system has declined sharply in recent times (from almost 1,000 in 2010 to less than 400 in 2015) and recent increases in intake (including a new field service engineer apprenticeship) will require a number of years before being reflected in higher output.
- With growth emerging in construction and accelerating in other sectors, the demand for electricians is expected to increase.
- In 2015, there were many vacancies for welders with TIG/MIG, ARC, butt/electric fusion skills.
- Many of these vacancies were arising due to turnover (1,900 movements between employers were identified in 2015)
- In May 2016, there were 1,325 job ready welders who were seeking employment through the PES.
- On the supply side, 283 FET awards were made in 2015 in manual arc and oxy-acetylene welding; nonetheless, a shortage of TIG/MIG welders continues to persist, with demand expected to remain strong particularly due to the growth in the construction and metal fabrication/machining (e.g. high tech manufacturing) industries.
- The new proposed apprenticeships at levels 5 and 6 on the NFQ (advanced craft welder) may help alleviate the shortage once apprentices qualify (courses are 3-4 years in duration).
- The strong performance of the high tech manufacturing sector is driving the demand for tool making skills.
- In response to the growing demand, a number of new courses and modules have been introduced in recent years, including new manufacturing apprenticeships proposed by the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), with an anticipated 100 enrolments annually over the 3-4 years of the programme; this is in addition to the 32 awards made through FET courses in 2015 (an increase from 10 in 2013) and an increase in apprentice intake.
- Nonetheless, shortages of tradespersons with expertise in making highly complex precision tools are expected to persist in the short run.
- Demand for butchers/de-boners has been driven by the strong performance of the meat processing industry.
- The industry has been reliant on non-EEA workers (the share of non-Irish nationals in the workforce was 29% in 2015).
- Supply will be increased through the proposed new apprenticeship in butchery and fresh food retail (with an expected 60 annual registrations per annum); however, the problem with attracting and retaining skilled butchers/de-boners following completion of their training is expected to remain a challenge for the meat industry in Ireland, with the issue likely to be exacerbated by the greater availability of job opportunities across other growting sectors of the economy.