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 Aoife Mc Dermott from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

Aoife Mc Dermott


Department of Education and Skills

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Aoife Mc Dermott
The most important thing is that you like your subject area! It?s also important to do as well as you can throughout your degree. For example, I applied for PhD scholarship during my final year, so they were looking at my first, second and third year results. Finally, I find that liking people helps a lot.

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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Construction Professional & Associate Professional Occupations

There are approximately 21,000 people employed in Construction Professional and Associate Professional Occupations. The sector expanded very marginally between 2011 and 2016, just 1.9% annually, a rate close to the national average. Looking at just 2015-16 there is evidence that the sector is picking up, albeit inconsistently across occupations. Overall employment growth for the year was 6.1%, but the Architects & Town Planners and Civil Engineers occupational categories declined. On the other hand the architectural technologists, construction project managers & surveyors occupational category saw a significant annual growth rate of 53%.

Data from National Skills Bulletin, 2017. SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit Figure 1: Data from National Skills Bulletin, 2017. SOLAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit.

The above chart highlights how divergent the effect of the recovery of the construction industry on different professional occupations has been, with some undergoing heavy growth while others decline marginally.


Following from the National Skills Bulletin, 2017
Key points for selected construction professional and associate professional occupations

  • In 2016, there were approximately 21,000 persons employed in the selected construction professional and associate professional occupations, representing 1% of total national employment 
  • Approximately 60% of overall employment was concentrated in professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly architectural and engineering), while a further 14% was in construction
  • Between 2011 and 2016, overall employment in the selected occupations expanded (almost 2,000, or 1.9% on average annually), similar to the national average rate; the strongest growth was observed for architects & town planners (4.4% on average annually) and construction related technicians (4.1% on average annually); in contrast, employment of civil engineers remained unchanged
  • Between 2015 and 2016, while overall employment expanded by 6.1%, this amounted to an additional 1,200 persons; the strongest increase (in both absolute and relative terms) was observed for the combined group architectural technologists, construction project managers & surveyors; in contrast, decreases were observed for civil engineers, architects & town planners (although small in absolute terms)
  • Almost 90% of all employed construction professionals were aged 25-54; the share was almost 75% for construction associate professionals
  • Approximately 95% of construction professionals in employment were third level graduates; the corresponding share was 65% for construction associate professionals
  • Employment in most occupations was predominantly male; one third of employed architects & town planners were female, the highest representation of females
  • The majority of persons employed in each occupation worked full-time and were Irish nationals.

Shortage Indicators

The outlook and prospects for the construction industry is the most positive in a decade. A recent DKM/CIF report44 forecasts that the construction industry will experience strong growth in activity over the medium term, with the overall volume of construction output predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 9% over the period 2016 to 2020, and employing an estimated 213,000 workers, almost an additional 80,000 persons on 2016 levels.

The significant number of additional workers (including construction professionals and associate professionals) will be required to deliver the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s €42 billion Capital Programme (investment in social infrastructure (schools, hospitals) and productive infrastructure (the national and non-national road network, water treatment services)); the Rebuilding Ireland Strategy, and the increasing demand from foreign direct investment companies for buildings (particularly office space).

Recent job announcements in the media supporting or expected to increase the volume of construction related investment, and hence the demand for skilled construction workers (although temporary jobs), include Apple, Cook Medical and Microsoft (data centres), Shire and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (biologics manufacturing plant), West Pharmaceuticals (manufacturing medical devices plant), Intel (manufacturing semiconductor technology facility).

Although strong employment growth is forecast for this sector, this relates primarily to skilled tradespersons, operatives and labourers. The five-year growth to 2020 for managers, professionals and associate professionals is expected to be in the region of 1,600 persons. Despite significant increases in employment for this sector since 2011, these selected occupations grew by 1,900 during this period.

The reduced intake in higher level education due to the recession has led to a continued fall in the output from construction-related courses, particularly impacting NFQ level 7 and 8 courses, with overall output declining by 50% to 1,700 in 2015. The number of graduates from level 8 civil engineering courses in 2015 amounted to 160, compared to 350 in 2011. In 2015, there were over 190 awards in surveying; 150 were in quantity surveying/construction economics and a further 20 in building surveying. The supply of skills from the live register is also tightening; in April 2017, there were 75 job ready civil engineers, 85 architects and 40 architectural technologists with NFQ level 8 or above qualifications seeking employment.

The reduced supply of skills for these occupations is expected to impact the labour market as demand for these skills increases. Shortages of the following skills have been identified:

  • construction project managers: (with relevant experience and specialist knowledge)
  • quantity surveyors, building services/structural/site engineers.

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 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
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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.

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