A new public poll, commissioned as part of the Engineering 2018 report, has found that the most trusted professionals in Ireland are engineers and doctors. 90% of Irish adults trust engineers to tell the truth and, of the 10 professions listed, only doctors are more trusted. The report also showed that 91% of Irish adults regard engineers as highly competent, and that they are able to apply expertise in their daily work. (See table at the end of this article for results of the survey.)
Industry demand for engineering talent has seen graduate engineer starting salaries increase by 11% in the past four years. There has also been a 4% rise in engineering graduates from undergraduate courses according to the report, including an upturn in civil and building engineering graduates. According to figures released from Irishjobs.ie, engineering is currently in the top five sectors recruiting the most graduates. (Read more here)
The Engineering 2018 report also highlighted that, while the economic recession was a challenging time for the engineering sector, the industry has strengthened in recent years with 83% of engineering employers recruiting engineers in 2017 and experiencing particularly strong business growth. Regrettably the Engineering Report 2018 shows an inadequate supply of engineering skills to meet the needs of industry. This was echoed in the National Skills Bulletin 2017. According to this bulletin work permits were issued outside the EEA out of necessity to fill engineering positions due to skills shortages in the profession.
Engineers Ireland Director General, Caroline Spillane commented on the acute shortage of engineering skills and how this could undermine the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 goals.
“This report [Engineers 2018] demonstrates the exceptionally high levels of trust the public has in engineers as professionals in their daily work. We are seeing new job opportunities for graduates and increasing salaries reflecting this, but there continues to be a shortfall of engineers to meet the needs of industry. Now, more than ever, we need to encourage young people to study engineering, which is essentially the lifeblood to successfully delivering the ambitious new infrastructural and technological initiatives that have been outlined in Project Ireland 2040.”
In the Engineering 2018 report, employers also pinpointed skills such as communication, attention to detail and teamwork as more important than technical competencies for the modern engineer. The focus on soft skills was also highlighted in a recent report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). According to the WEF soft skills will be in greater demand as more and more jobs become automated. To read more about the WEF report click here.
Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme was established in an effort to encourage more young people into STEM careers. It is a collaborative government-industry-education programme promoting STEM careers to post-primary students in Ireland. There has been an increase in the numbers of students taking STEM-related subjects at both Junior and Leaving Cert. Leaving Cert students sitting exams in STEM subjects increased by 5% in the past year, and the number of students studying higher-level mathematics at Leaving Certificate has doubled since 2011. This is all encouraging news for the STEM sector. But according to CAO in 2017 there was a decline in the number of students choosing engineering professions and subsequently the points dropped in engineering courses so there is still more work to be done to increase participation in the STEM sector.
For detailed occupation profiles in Engineering please click on the following links.