Key points for selected construction professional and associate professional occupations
- In 2015, there were approximately 20,000 persons employed in the selected construction professional and associate professional occupations, representing 1% of total national employment.
- Just over 50% of overall employment was concentrated in professional, scientific and technical activities (mostly architectural and engineering), a further 18% was in public administration and defence, while only 15% was in construction.
- Between 2010 and 2015, overall employment in the selected occupations contracted (1.8% on average annually), compared to a national average increase of 0.8%.
- Employment contracted for the combined group: architectural technologists, construction project managers & surveyors (9.4% on average annually) and civil engineers (2.1% on average annually).
- Employment expanded for construction related technicians (3.7% on average annually) and architects & town planners (2.6% on average annually), although the absolute increases were small.
- Between 2014 and 2015, while overall employment levels remained relatively unchanged, the largest increase was observed for civil engineers.
- Approximately 80% of all employed construction professionals were aged 25-54; the share was 75% for construction associate professionals; the most mature age profile was for construction related technicians, with 25% aged 55 or older.
- Approximately 95% of construction professionals in employment were third level graduates; the share was 86% for construction associate professionals.
- Most persons employed in each occupation were male; the workforce of architects & town planners had the highest representation of females, at almost one third.
Recent growth in economic activity has also been translated into greater demand for construction professional and associate professional occupations. The seasonally adjusted volume of production index in building and construction has been gradually increasing since 2012. In fact, growth is expected to accelerate in absolute and relative terms over the medium term, as the sector gathers further momentum.
Although growth in residential construction has been gathering pace (the monthly residential property price index has been increasing in the main since March 2013), the initial growth has been concentrated in commercial construction and resulted from expansion in other sectors, namely, ICT, utilities and infrastructure, and high-tech & food manufacturing.
Further growth in commercial building is confirmed by recent job announcements (e.g. Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, University of Limerick, Dublin Airport, Shire, Glanbia and O’Brien Fine Foods).
Although the number of graduates declined (as a result of the reduced intake during the recession), there is significant graduate output from construction related courses (almost 1,500 in 2014/15 at level 8 or above). In addition, there remains some overhang of construction skills, with 420 job ready civil engineers, almost 140 architects, and 120 architectural technologists/construction project managers seeking employment in May 2016.
Nonetheless, signs of tightening in the labour market have been observed, in particular in relation to surveyors, architects and civil engineers.
Shortages of the following skills have been identified:
- Construction and quantity surveyors with BIM (building information modelling, CAD)
- Construction project managers with experience.
There is also evidence that part of the difficulty in recruiting construction skills at present is due to a lack of geographic mobility.