Reason for optimism as students look to construction courses
After a gap of nearly a decade, construction and property related courses are once again fashionable for secondary students heading to college.
Recruitment specialist Hays Ireland, believes the recent growth in CAO applications for construction-related third-level courses can only be a good thing, both for graduates and for the industry as a whole. .
According to data from the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI), Engineers Ireland, and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (MediKids), the lack of graduates emerging from construction-related courses has become a "critical concern" for Ireland's future.
Whilst this upturn in CAO applications for construction-related third level courses is a positive development, the shortage of qualified professionals in the construction and property sector extends beyond just graduates, accord to Hays.
'The lack of graduates is also mirrored in the wider construction and property sector where shortages are emerging across several areas and levels,' notes Ferdia White of Hays Construction and Property.
'However, we do also need to take some positives from the bounce back in the sector. A healthy construction sector is a vital component of any economy, with investment in infrastructure critical to Ireland's long-term development and prosperity.
Right now a number of specialist areas are particularly in demand in the Irish construction industry, particularly as commercial property activity has accelerated over recent months. As the economy continues to recover this important section of the labour market will continue to face pressure to recruit suitably qualified personnel. The challenge for all stakeholders - employers, recruiters and Government is how to attract experienced construction staff to Ireland. Whether that is returning immigrants or non-Irish expertise', adds White.
Here are the top professions now for people moving into the construction and property sectors:
A Quantity Surveyor with 5 years' experience will find a number of options available to them should they decide to look for a new role. Main Contractors are also actively enticing candidates back from overseas. This has led to salaries increasing at a higher rate than other professions in the sectors.
Building Services Engineers
The lack of graduates in this area has impacted the industry significantly. Building Services Engineers fill a number of roles among M&E Contractors and Design firms. Building Contractors are also actively hiring M&E Coordinators.
With many projects moving over to 3D modelling, BIM technicians with Revit are finding opportunities in various different organisations in the construction industry. Candidates can find opportunities in architectural, civil/structural, building services firms, main contractors, etc. Due to the shortage of experienced technicians, many organisations are training existing staff on Revit software.
2015 was year of the return for the architectural sector. Increased activity in the commercial and residential sector has driven demand for architects, especially in the capital. While salaries are growing, it is at a slower pace than other areas in the industry.
Health and Safety Officers
Health and Safety is paramount on each building site. With the increased activity across the country, each contractor has seen an increase in the demand for safety officers.
Engineering consultancies have been increasing staff numbers and the increased number of new builds across the country has led to a demand for degree qualified structural engineering staff.
Recruiting skilled degree qualified project managers has remained a challenge for both building and M&E contractors. Both have been actively enticing candidates' home from abroad with strong salaries and benefits.
Technicians with 2-5 years' experience and a working knowledge of Revit will find a range of opportunities available to them should they decide to seek a new role. Many candidates are returning to the sector, having had to find work in different areas over the past number of years.
Many engineers with 4-5 years' experience have been fast tracked into senior management roles. This has led to a demand for staff with setting out expertise. Graduates with little experience are finding themselves being thrust into site engineering roles, with a large amount of responsibilities at quite a junior level.
The Dublin area has seen a huge demand for commercial and residential space over the past 18 months. Chartered valuation surveyors are highly sought after, particularly in the capital.