Key points for selected engineering occupations
- In 2013, there were approximately 24,000 persons employed in the selected engineering occupations, representing 1.2% of Ireland's workforce
- Just over half of overall employment in the selected occupations was concentrated in manufacturing (mostly machinery/equipment and pharmaceuticals), while almost an additional one fifth was concentrated in professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly architectural & engineering activities, technical testing and analysis)
- Almost 60% of total employment in the selected engineering occupations was at professional level (i.e. engineers); the remainder was at technician level
- Of the 17 occupational groups examined in this report, engineering occupations recorded the strongest employment growth between 2008 and 2013 (expanding by 6.8% on average annually); the strongest employment growth was observed for production, design & QC engineers (11.9% on average annually) and process, production & quality assurance technicians (9.4% on average annually)
- Between 2008 and 2013, employment increased by 6,500; the largest absolute increase was for production, design & QC engineers (2,600)
- Over the period 2012 to 2013, overall employment in the selected engineering occupations contracted by 8.8%
- Over four fifths of those employed in each occupation was aged 25-54
- Just over 90% of engineering professionals and 70% of technicians in employment were third level graduates
- The majority of employed engineering professionals and technicians were male, worked full-time and were Irish-nationals
- The unemployment rate for both engineering professionals and technicians was considerably below the national average rate of 11.7%.
During 2013, newly advertised vacancies were numerous for engineering skills at professional and technician levels.
Moreover, difficult to fill posts requiring engineering skills have been identified in the areas of
Given this shortage, many companies are sourcing engineering skills from abroad: over 150 employment permits were issued to non- EEA engineers in 2013.
- production and process engineering (automation (e.g. computer numerical control, computer aided design and manufacturing, programmable logic control (PLC)), process safety and system control)
- quality and validation (e.g. Computer Validation Systems (CVS))
- product development and design (in the areas of chemicals, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, ICT, food and medical devices)
- precision engineering (tool making and design for automotive, pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors)
- energy (power generation and transmission)
- telecommunications (mobile telephony)
- project management and production planning.
Employment opportunities are expected to increase as per recent job creation announcements for engineers and engineering technicians in manufacturing (e.g. Aspen Pharma, BioMarin, Ethicon Biosurgery Ireland, Jazz Pharmaceuticals etc.), ICT (e.g. Intel) and energy (e.g. ENERCON, capSpire, Sure Power Energy etc.).
The Government's investment through Science Foundation Ireland and the establishment of the Irish Photonic Integration Centre in UCC will add to the demand for engineering skills and support growth in high technology sectors.