Key points for selected other craft occupations
- In 2014, there were approximately 113,000 persons employed in other craft occupations, representing 5.9% of the national workforce (Figure 9.11.1)
- Two thirds of overall employment was concentrated in two sectors: manufacturing (one third) and wholesale and retail (approximately one fifth)
- Almost 75% of overall employment was concentrated in three trades: electrical & electronic (30%), metal machining, fitting and instrument making (24%) and vehicle (almost 20%)
- Between 2009 and 2014, overall employment in other craft occupations contracted by 2.1% on average annually, with a net 12,600 job losses; however, between 2013 and 2014, employment expanded by 6.4%, with almost a net 7,000 jobs created
- Between 2009 and 2014, the strongest average annual rates of employment decline were observed for printing trades (6.8%) and electrical & electronic trades (6.1%); the latter group experienced the largest reduction in the numbers employed (approximately 12,000); between 2013 and 2014, employment in these trades also contracted, while employment in most other craft occupations expanded (Figure 9.11.2)
- Just over 75% of all persons employed in the selected occupations was aged 25-54 (Figure 9.11.3)
- Approximately 56% of all persons employed in the selected occupations had attained higher secondary/FET qualifications, exceeding the national average of 38%; however, at 30%, the overall share with third level qualifications was considerably below the national average of 47%; the share who had third level qualifications varied across the occupations: at 45%, the highest share was for electrical & electronic craftsworkers (within this category, 90% of computer repair and maintenance engineers had attained this level of education); in contrast, the corresponding share was only 7% for butchers, fishmongers and related trades (Figure 9.11.4)
- Approximately 30% of all employed butchers, fishmongers and related trades were non-Irish nationals
- The majority of other craftpersons in employment were male and worked fulltime.
Electricians – the demand for electricians was evident in an increased number of vacancies in 2014; however, many vacancies were arising due to replacement demand and turnover (3,500 transitions between employers were observed in 2014); high turnover was also evident in the simultaneous presence of a large number of job seekers (2,700 in May 2015) and vacancies; supply from the apprenticeship system has declined sharply in recent times (from 729 in 2013 to 478 in 2014 alone), which may create an issue in the medium term; with growth emerging in construction and accelerating in other sectors, the demand for electricians is expected to increase.
Welders – in 2014, there were many vacancies for welders with TIG/MIG, arc, pipe, orbital and butt fusion skills; many of these vacancies were airing due to turnover (1,400 movements between employers were identified in 2014); in May 2015, there were 1,200 job ready welders who were seeking employment through the PES; in addition, 286 FET awards were made in 2014 in manual arc and oxy-acetylene welding; nonetheless, shortages of TIG/MIG welders continue to exist; the demand is expected to remain strong due to projected expansion of utilities, high tech and traditional manufacturing and construction.
Tool makers/fitters – the demand for tool making skills has been increasing, owing mainly to the strong performance of the high tech manufacturing sector; in response to the growing demand, a new course was introduced by the Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim ETB in 2014, with 16 enrolments; this was in addition to the 20 awards made through FET courses in 2014 (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.
Butchers/de-boners – 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 31% in 2014); in response to the shortage, the Government, in collaboration with employers, established a National Butchery Academy in 2012; however, the retention of qualified butchers following the completion of training was identified as an issue; the problem with attracting and retaining skilled butchers/de-boners remains a challenge for the meat industry in Ireland, with the issue likely to be exacerbated by the greater availability of job opportunities across other sectors as the economy continues to recover.