Featured Advice
What are your interests?

Realist?

Realist

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.

Our Sector

Our Sector

Please give an overview of your sector?

Building the future 

As the economy improves construction graduates and craftspeople are in big demand. This sector is on the rise again in Ireland so it is the perfect time to be considering a career in the industry.

The construction industry has hired an additional 50,000 people since the recovery began in 2013. The ESRI estimates that the industry is at 50% of the level considered essential to the Irish economy. 

The AECOM Annual Review 2018 estimates the value of construction output across the Republic of Ireland (ROI) in 2017 at €17.1 billion. According to DKM Economic Consultants 2016 Demand for Skills report and Aecom’s 2018 forecast, the industry is set to grow by between 9 – 14% this year. 

There are now 150,000 people working in construction in Ireland. This figure grew by 18% in 2017 and the forecast for 2018 is a further growth of 14%.  What’s more, that number will rise over the coming years. The Government is targeting the creation of an extra 60,000 construction jobs by 2020 which will create many opportunities for people looking to begin their career in this area.

What other sectors will provide so many possibilities for those who are completing their education? A growing industry always creates more jobs and no sector will grow as quickly in Ireland as construction is estimated to over the next few years.

Construction professionals work in a range of specialist services as well as three broad areas: 

  • Civil
  • Building 
  • Mechanical and Electrical 

Civils deals with larger infrastructure projects like roads and flood defences, while professionals working on the building side of the industry will be involved in projects such as shopping centres and industrial units.

As the demand grows for the construction of residential properties and the completion of such projects, an increase in skilled professionals will be required. The mechanical and electrical sector, as the name suggests, is a specialist area dealing with the ‘fit-out’ of a building including heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and electrical works.

This is an important sector for the Irish economy as capability in this area means Ireland can attract major international companies such as Intel with full confidence that we have the skills to build and maintain their high tech installations. The nature of construction work means it’s a varied and challenging career. People who study construction related subjects in college move on to work for some of Ireland’s best-known construction firms.

Aoibhin Gaynor is one such graduate: “I have a First class honours degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering BAI and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Mathematics BA from Trinity College Dublin (TCD).” “I am currently employed as a mechanical engineer with the Jones Engineering Group. At present, I am working on one of the largest Building Information Modelling (BIM) projects in Europe at the Intel campus in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

As a team lead my day-to-day activities involve managing a group of 3D Virtual Construction Designers in preparing 3D models using several Autodesk software packages." “The greatest benefit of a degree in engineering is it offers a wide range of career possibilities and provides you with a set of skills highly adaptable to many sectors.

Choosing to study mechanical and manufacturing engineering was the first major milestone in my career development. The thing I love most about engineering is that it enables you to work as part of a diverse, collaborative team of professionals and teaches you how to communicate complex ideas. Projects are always changing and developing - particularly as the technology and area of expertise develop. Engineering involves creativity, innovation and allows you to work on interesting projects, with the opportunity to travel.”

Past CIF President Dominic Doheny says: “What I love about the construction industry is how no two days are ever the same. Each day brings a new challenge and new possibilities. I don’t think I would have had the same prospects in any other sector.”

What is the size and scope of the sector?

The Irish construction industry employs approx 150,000 people directly (2017 figures). This figure grew by 18% in 2017 and the forecast for 2018 is a further growth of 14%.

A further 40% are employed in industries which serve the construction sector, such as architectural practices, engineering consultancies and legal and financial sectors and agencies.

The AECOM Annual Review 2018 estimates the value of construction output across the Republic of Ireland (ROI) in 2017 at €17.1 billion, it forecasts a 14 per cent increase to €19.5 billion in 2018. This activity is spread between civil engineering, commercial construction as well as a rising residential market.

What are the current issues affecting this sector?

The construction industry is thriving once again and levels of recruitment are increasing as activity grows the overall Irish economy improves.

The National Development Plan announcement in 2018 promised an investment of €115 billion in the country's infrastructure over the next ten years.

It will be backed by Exchequer funding to the tune of €90bn and a further €25bn will come from commercial State-owned enterprises.

There are 150,000 people employed in construction, with this figure expected to rise to 213,000 by 2020.

According to a DKM report commissioned by the CIF, construction activity can sustain an additional 112,000 Irish construction jobs up to 2020. This figure is based on an estimated €17.8billion worth of projects in the pipeline in 2017.

Key positions that need to be filled between now and 2020 are:

  • 15,200 electricians
  • 7,800 bricklayers
  • 11,800 plumbers
  • 30,800 carpenters and joiners
  • 13,900 plasterers/floorers and tilers
  • 9,400 painters and decorators
  • 9,600 managers
  • 18,100 operatives and
  • 27,600 general labourers

Government has published a policy document entitled "Construction 2020 - A Strategy for a Renewed Construction Sector" which outlines how the industry will be developed out to the year 2020.

A number of key Government strategies aim to shape the Ireland of 2027. The success of these strategies are largely dependent on the construction industry's capacity over the coming decade.:

  • NDP 115 Billion Investment in Infrastructure over next 10 years (2018)
  • 47,000 new social homes by the end of 2021
  • 80,000 new FDI related jobs by 2019
  • Target of 25,000 houses per year
  • 75,000 construction jobs by 2020 Є32bn in infrastructure by 2021
  • Low carbon economy by 2050

In order to meet this planned growth, the industry needs skilled professionals and crafts people to manage and deliver high quality projects.

As take up of construction related courses reduced during the recession, demand will be more acute going forward and there will be greater demand for those who decide to train to work in the industry.

What does Brexit mean for the Irish construction sector?

The construction industry is critical to minimising the impact of Brexit on the domestic economy. With nearly 150,000 employees and over 45,000 SME enterprises, the industry is dispersed across every Irish community. At a macro-level, the industry is a key driver of Irish economic growth but is only now emerging from a decade long period of inactivity and underinvestment.

With time running out before the UK formally leaves the European Union, the realities of Brexit are coming into focus, and the Irish construction industry like many other vital industries needs to prepare for a range of eventualities.

Read full report here

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years

Under the Government's plan for the construction industry (Construction 2020 - A Strategy for a Renewed Construction Sector), employment in the construction industry will grow by 60,000 in the next 5 years.  

The National Development Plan announcement in 2018 promised an investment of €115 billion in the country's infrastructure over the next ten years.

It will be backed by Exchequer funding to the tune of €90bn and a further €25bn will come from commercial State-owned enterprises.

Some of the construction projects to benefit will include a second runway at Dublin Airport, the building of the M20 motorway to connect Cork and Limerick and the expansion of the DART.

There will also be investment in regional airports and school buildings across the country.

Priorities in health include the building of a new National Children's Hospital and a National Maternity Hospital.

This is to meet the demand of a recovering economy and to ensure that infrastructure is in place to allow economic growth and to meet the demands of foreign direct investment. 

The need for 90,000 more homes over the next seven years is indicated, which translates to 12,500 additional houses per annum up to 2021.

There will also be a significant demand for commercial property in the years ahead. There is evidence of increased demand for engineers and other construction specialists and there is also a shortage of available and suitable candidates as recruitment by main building contractors, civil & structural consultancies and architectural firms is beginning to pick up.

With this planned increase in employment, comes opportunities for individuals who have the foresight to see this growing demand and to consider studying construction related courses.

 

Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?

The severity of the construction recession saw the numbers working in construction decline by almost 180,000 by Q1 2013 to just 35 per cent of the numbers employed at the peak (2007).

However, construction recorded the fastest rate of employment growth in the period since, gaining 39,200 jobs by Q2 2016.

There were now 150,000 persons directly employed in construction. This figure grew by 18% in 2017 and the forecast for 2018 is a further growth of 14%. 

Women in Construction

Women make up just 6% of those working in construction in Ireland. The Construction Industry Federation #BuildingEquality campaign strives to promote inspiring role models to women and girls considering joining the industry. Read their career stories here

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?

The key areas that require personnel are - Engineering (all disciplines), Project and Construction Management, Surveying (all disciplines), Quality, Environment and Health and Safety Managers as well as all the trades covered by the Apprenticeships (see below).

Apprenticeships are critical in ensuring that the high level of construction skills and the quality of the skilled construction workforce is maintained.

Apprenticeships are available in the following trades: 

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical Instrumentation
  • Carpentry and Joinery
  • Plastering
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Skilled machinery operators

Taking up an apprenticeship means that you will alternate between site based work training and college over a period of four years to become a qualified crafts person.

An added benefit is that during all this time while you are training, you will be paid - even during the time you spend in college.

It takes time to acquire these skills and it is important that the level of apprenticeships within the construction sector is maintained in order to ensure that the industry retains competitiveness and effectiveness.

There will also be a significant requirement for new technical training courses for construction sector workers. This will ensure that the construction workforce is highly skilled, mobile and able to adapt to the changing economic conditions whilst ensuring that output isn’t affected.

According to a DKM report commissioned by the CIF, construction activity can sustain an additional 112,000 Irish construction jobs up to 2020. This figure is based on an estimated €17.8billion worth of projects in the pipeline in 2017.

Key positions that need to be filled between now and 2020 are:

  • 15,200 electricians
  • 7,800 bricklayers
  • 11,800 plumbers
  • 30,800 carpenters and joiners
  • 13,900 plasterers/floorers and tilers
  • 9,400 painters and decorators
  • 9,600 managers
  • 18,100 operatives and
  • 27,600 general labourers