Construction Jobs - Market Overview 2018


“Demand for construction professionals rising and salaries are following.”

Thoughts on the Market

The Irish construction market maintained a strong level of activity in 2017 and will continue to do so in 2018. It is a busy market with robust demand for construction professionals, particularly those at the intermediate level of experience i.e. 3-5 years in a particular area. 

Demand for skilled professionals in construction is being driven by a number of factors including:

  • Increase in residential projects with the government looking to make sure it achieves a target of 35,000 housing units per annum over the next few years.

  • Continuing need for building to satisfy the demand of foreign direct investment (FDI) companies based here or planning to establish offices or plants in Ireland. There have been recent large pharmaceutical site projects in both Cork and Dublin which demonstrate the impact of FDI.

  • Increased business confidence generally leading to companies making investment decisions regarding developments in the cities, particularly in Dublin. 

  • Unemployment is now at its lowest level since 2008, at just over 6 percent and is forecast to fall to 5.7 percent on average in 2018.

All of the above factors will continue to make an impact in 2018 along with potentially more emphasis on the residential sector with the government making significant finance for development available through Home Building Finance Ireland, as announced this autumn.

General Contracting

Both medium and large-scale main contractors recruited at a steady rate in 2017, with quantity surveyors, site managers, site engineers and project managers the most common requirements. Salaries in these positions increased, although not at the same rate as in the previous year given the leap forward in activity two years ago.

Consulting Engineers

There has been a demand for all types of design engineers from consultancies but particularly for structural, civil design and building services design engineers.
One noticeable feature for civil engineering has been the preference for experience in drainage and site development infrastructure rather than large roads/bridges projects, which is in line with the type of construction activity on the increase.

Building Services

The success and importance of building services contracting is clear in that 4 of the top 12 construction companies in turnover terms are building services companies and the sector has been dealing with a busy project workload both in terms of FDI projects such as data centres and pharmaceutical plants and also with the healthcare sector where there are high profile projects to move forward in 2018. 

Trades and Labour

In terms of onsite trades and labour, 2017 was a very busy year for short-term vacancies for labourers, pipelayers, ground workers and various trades such as electricians. Sigmar experienced a 4.5% rise in construction vacancies for these areas.
There has been a significant development to increase pay in the sector with the introduction of the Sectoral Employment Order in November, which has in many cases significantly increased rates of pay for on-site personnel.


We track salaries for construction professionals in Dublin and for the regions and there has been a difference in salaries historically due to the differences in demand and cost of living situation. This difference has become more pronounced as although salaries in general for both Dublin and other areas have all increased, Dublin based salaries have increased at a faster rate - for example in general, construction project managers in Dublin with more than 5 year’s project management experience will, in general, be paid approximately 13% higher than the equivalent position working in one of the regional cities. This gap is an issue we will be interested in tracking in 2018 to see if more opportunities become available in the regional centres.

Top Tip for 2018

Employers report a continuing trend towards the use of Revit and BIM on various projects and although use is not uniform across the construction sector, further take-up is likely. Therefore familiarisation with Revit will help engineers and CAD designers across various disciplines.

Looking for a construction job? Check out our latest jobs here

Posted by Richard Walsh on 26 April 2018

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