Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Keith Hayes from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:

Keith Hayes

Ambulance / Paramedic

Health Service Executive

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Keith Hayes
At a minimum get your Leaving Cert, that’s required anyway. But don’t sell yourself short aim for a third level college qualification, something like a science degree. It may not have obvious benefits now but the career is changing direction so fast it could stand to you big time.

Take your time in applying I joined the service when I was 25 yrs old and looking back I think around that age is the right time. When you consider some of the calls we attend and things we may need to deal with, joining at 17 or 18 after the Leaving Cert with little or no life experiences may turn you off because it is very demanding physically, mentally and emotionally.
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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Labour Market Sector Profiles

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Engineering Occupations

Key points for selected engineering occupations

  • In 2016, there were approximately 31,000 persons employed in the selected engineering occupations, representing 1.5% of national employment
  • Over 70% of overall employment was concentrated in two sectors: 52% in manufacturing (mostly pharmaceuticals and machinery/equipment), with more than 21% in professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly architectural/ engineering activities)
  • Just over 52% of total employment was at professional level (i.e. engineers); the remainder was at technician level
  • Between 2011 and 2016, employment growth in engineering occupations was the strongest recorded amongst the 17 broad occupational groups examined (8.2% on average annually); the strongest growth rates were observed for process, production and QA technicians (16% on average annually) and other engineering technicians (9%); in contrast, the weakest growth rates were observed for electrical/electronic engineers and production, design and QC engineers (3.5% and 5.6% respectively)  
  • Over the same five-year period, in absolute terms, employment expanded by over 10,000; the largest increases were observed for process, production and QA technicians and other engineering technicians (by approximately 3,500 and 3,000 respectively); in contrast, employment levels of electrical/ electronic engineers remained static
  • Between 2015 and 2016, overall employment in engineering occupations expanded by 14% (compared with 2.9% nationally), or approximately 4,000; the largest increases were observed for other engineering technicians
  • With the exception of electrical/ electronic engineers, over three quarters of persons employed in each occupation was aged 25-54; almost a quarter of those employed as electrical/ electronic engineers was aged 55 or older
  • 93% of other engineering professionals and almost 90% of employed production, design and QC engineers were third level graduates; the lowest share was observed for engineering technicians (72%)
  • Over four fifths of those employed in engineering professional occupations were male; there were no female electrical/ electronic engineers; two fifths of employed process, production and QA technicians were female – the highest share of females among the selected occupations
  • The vast majority of employed engineering professionals and technicians worked full-time (96%) and were Irish-nationals (86%).

Shortage Indicators

Employment has been growing strongly in the selected engineering occupations in recent years. Over a half of those were working in the manufacturing sector, where employment growth in high-tech and medium high-tech manufacturing has been particularly strongly over the most recent five-year period. Job announcements in the media in 2016 were most frequent in industry, primarily in the manufacture of medical devices, biotech, pharmaceutical, food/beverages and machinery/equipment with engineering roles announced including in R&D design, quality control and process engineers along with engineering technicians involved in testing.

Replacement demand in these occupations tends to be low, primarily due to a younger age cohort than the national average; turnover, however, is above average, particularly in relation to electrical and quality control engineers along with quality assurance technicians. Expansion demand, combined with a high level of movement between employers, is accounting for frequent vacancy notifications primarily for process, quality and project engineers. There were approximately 2,100 recent new hires in 2016 for professional engineers and a further 2,300 for technicians (two thirds of all engineering new hires held a third level honours degree or higher).

Employers are competing internationally for some niche engineering roles (primarily process and equipment engineers but also automation, project and mechanical engineers) with 434 new employment permits issued in 2016 for professionals in both industry and the ICT sector.

The number of third level engineering graduates is estimated at 5,000, more than half of which were at NFQ level 8 or higher; graduate output has been increasing in recent years (up by more than a half since 2010). There are also two new NFQ level 7 apprenticeships in industrial electrical engineering and polymer processing technology. In addition, in April 2017, there were over 600 engineers (over half of whom held at least a degree-level (NFQ 7) qualification) and almost 700 engineering technicians (a third of whom held at least a degree-level (NFQ 7) qualification) who were job ready job seekers.

The demand for engineers, typically for roles in pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturing, relates largely to those with significant experience (at least five years) in industry specific settings. Shortages include

  • process and design (including R&D)
  • quality control/quality assurance (including standards, compliance and regulatory affairs, mostly EHS41 compliance)
  • automation (including lean processes)
  • validation/computer validation system (CVS), CQE (certified quality engineer) certification
  • chemical engineers
  • electrical engineers: (safety, tech. specification, mechatronics - development and integration of mechanical, electrical and software systems; power generation and transmission)
  • mechanical engineers: with skills and experience in polymer engineering and injection moulding
  • technicians: quality assurance/control, process (e.g. injection moulding/polymer engineering), extrusion and maintenance.

There also appears to be an issue with geographical mobility and the ability to attract candidates to certain locations.


Labour Market Research 24

These links are to well established sources of information used to review, evaluate and predict changes in our labour market.

Vacancy Overview 2016 - EGFSN 
Detailed analysis of labour market indicators, vacancy trends and difficult to fill vacancies from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (May 2017)
Addressing the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics Sector in Ireland 2015 2020 
February 2015 EGFSN report assessing the skills and competency requirements for the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics sector in Ireland up to 2020
Vacancy Overview 2014 - EFGSN 
The Vacancy Overview 2014 produced May 2015 by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS on behalf of the EGFSN, draws on data from newly advertised job vacancies in the following sources: DSP Jobs Ireland and IrishJobs.ie. The analysis focuses
Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply 
July 2015 report on those entering and leaving the Irish education system (primary, post-primary,further education and training, and higher education) spanning the ten levels of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin 2015 
Annual report produced by the EGFSN which identifies variations in skills supply and demand across 8 regions (Border, Dublin, Mid East, Mid-West, Midland, South East, South West and West).
Assessment of Future Skills Requirements in the Hospitality Sector in Ireland 2015-2020 
Report from the EGFSN assessing the skills demand within the Hospitality sector in Ireland to 2020 to ensure the right supply of skills to help drive domestic hospitality sector business and employment growth.
Vacancy Overview 2015 - EGFSN May 2016 
A report produced by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs contextualising 2015 vacancy data with what is occurring in the Irish labour market
Future Skills Needs of the Biopharma Industry in Ireland August 2016 
This report reviews the supply of, and demand for, skills within the Biopharma Industry in Ireland up to 2020, with a specific focus on Biologics manufacturing as a growing sub-sector within the industry. It is estimated that 8,400 potential job openings
Regional Labour Markets Bulletin October 2016 
A Report prepared by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS.
Trends in Education and Training Outputs 
Monitoring Ireland's Skills Supply - A report by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS for the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs November 2016
Next Last

Current Labour Market Info 4

These sites provide news of current events that relate to our evolving labour market.

IBEC Quarterly Economic Trends 
Download publication in PDF format.
SCSI Employment Opportunities & Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying 2014-18 
New report April 2014 from SCSI outlining the Employment Opportunities and Skills Requirements for Construction and Property Surveying projected from 2014-2018
Shortage of craft/entry level staff in the Hotel Sector 
Hotels and guesthouses are experiencing serious difficulties recruiting suitably qualified craft/entry level staff - IHF Annual Conference 24/2/14
National Skills Bulletin 2015 
The National Skills Bulletin 2015 provides an overview of the Irish labour market at occupational level, drawing on a variety of data sets, which have been systematically gathered in the National Skills Database (NSD) since 2003.


Know of a link that you think should be included in this section? Send it to info@careersportal.ie