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Shortage of skilled build professionals

Monday, August 18 11:39:23

There is an urgent need to promote careers in engineering and construction amongst students entering third-level courses as demand outstrips supply, according to recruitment group Hays and Engineers Ireland.

Their comments come following the allocation of college places published today by the Central Applications Office (CAO).

Analysis carried out by Hays and Engineers Ireland has found that while there is an increased demand for engineers and other construction specialists, there is also a shortage of available and suitable candidates. Equally, the numbers pursuing construction courses at third level is insufficient to meet industry demands in the coming years.

Hays recorded a 93pc increase in the number of construction and property jobs on offer during the first six months of 2014, when compared with the same period last year.

Unsurprisingly, Leinster is experiencing the greatest growth in new construction jobs with a 143pc increase in those available and a 30pc increase outside of Leinster. Salaries in the sector are increasing but also at a much faster rate in Dublin than is the case nationally.

According to Hays, engineering companies are currently seeking to recruit and expand their work force, with mechanical and electrical engineers/project managers particularly in demand. Recruitment by main building contractors, civil and structural consultancies and architectural firms is also beginning to pick up.

It also points to a shortage of particular types of candidates for construction projects and engineers at a mid-level in their careers.

Engineers Ireland has also warned of an ongoing shortage of engineers graduates in the years ahead, despite the current strong demand for these graduates. It pointed to the fact that during this academic year only 62 construction engineers will graduate. This compares to several hundred in 2007.

"Increased activity in the construction and property sector is now a reality, particularly in the Dublin and Leinster region," said Niall Toland, Business Director, Hays Construction and Property.

"2014 has seen a major increase in construction activity within the industrial sector. There has been a lot of refurbishment and extension work carried out and the demand for commercial and residential property is now growing strongly. Ensuring that we have the qualified professionals on the ground to drive this development is just one part of the jigsaw, but a very critical one."

John Power, Chartered Engineer and Director General of Engineers Ireland, said: "For many years the numbers of students opting for civil and construction engineering careers fell significantly, which is not surprising given the collapse of the property market. At that time, many engineers in the construction sector went to work on overseas projects or moved into non-construction areas of engineering in Ireland, such as the energy and environment industry."

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