Key points for selected construction professional and associate professional occupations
- In 2013, there were approximately 19,000 persons employed in the selected construction professional and associate professional occupations, representing 1% of Ireland's workforce
- Approximately 83% of employment was at professional level; the remainder was at associate professional level (i.e. construction related technicians)
- Almost 60% of employment was concentrated in professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly in architectural and engineering activities), while a further 12% was in construction
- Between 2008 and 2013, employment in the selected occupations contracted at an average annual rate of 6.8%, compared to the national average rate of 2.4%
- While employment contracted for all occupations over the five-year period, the strongest pace of contraction was recorded for architects and town planners followed by civil engineers, with average annual rates of 12.3% and 6.8% respectively; in absolute terms, overall employment contracted by 8,000 between 2008 and 2013, with the largest decreases recorded for architects and town planners and civil engineers
- Between 2012 and 2013, employment contracted by 7% (almost 2,000 net job losses), with the most pronounced decline for the architectural technologists group
- Over four fifths of all persons employed in both construction professional and associate professional occupations were aged 25-54; the age profile of employed architects and town planners was the most mature, with 14% aged 55 and over
- Just over 95% of persons employed in construction professional occupations were third level graduates; the share was 77% for those employed in associate professional occupations
- Approximately 83% of those employed in the selected occupations were male, well above the national average of 54%; at 30%, architects and town planners had the highest share of females; this group also had the highest share of persons who worked part-time.
Strong growth in absolute and relative terms is expected for construction, as this sector emerges from the lows to which it had fallen following the financial crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble. Despite the strong growth anticipated in the medium term, employment is not expected to reach the levels recorded in 2007 by 2020.
The initial impetus for growth in construction is expected to arise from expansion in other sectors, namely bio-pharma/medical and ICT. The construction of facilities for these sectors (e.g. HP, IBM, Ethicon Biosurgery Ireland, etc.), will create demand for construction skills at all levels.
As the economic recovery gathers pace and consumer confidence improves - aided by recent Government initiatives (e.g. the 'help-to-buy scheme') - growth will also emerge in the residential construction sector. Indications of growth are evident in the recently observed increase in the recruitment of apprentices and a stronger performance from the property market.
While the skills overhang from the recessionary period is sufficient to meet current demand, shortages may emerge in the medium term. Indeed, there are already some indications of shortages of construction and property surveyors.