Ireland’s unemployment rate of 5.3% has certainly dramatically improved from near 16% in 2012. More people are working in Ireland than ever, which is very positive. The drive to get more business into the regions and outside the main cities is on-going and working. Pressure on housing relative to other major cities, may be overstated but it is in everyone’s interest to balance employment in regional areas. Salary inflation has been increasing in specific areas (IT, legal/compliance, data security, life sciences, banking) and in many cases experienced double digit percentage increases. Ireland is still relatively attractive to mobile European talent, but there has been pressure on salaries because of unprecedented demand. Benefits are increasingly a consideration for applicants, particularly in the technology world where flexible working is becoming the expected norm rather than a differentiating factor. There is no question that the employers who are winning “talent battles” are really looking at their employee experience and also their applicant experience more closely than ever. Effective employer branding was a novelty a few years ago, but now essential in attracting top talent. The good news is that successful employer branding works and ensures salary inflation is not excessive and hiring new talent is controllable Overall, 2019 looks likely to be an interesting year, but as long as we stay competitive and offer some flexibility, Ireland has every reason to believe we can continue to outperform other countries in the war for talent! 2019 Salary Guides for each discipline: Accountancy & Finance Banking & Financial Services Construction & Property Services HR Insurance IT Legal & Compliance Manufacturing & Engineering Marketing Multilingual Office Support Sales Software Sales Science & Pharma Supply Chain
There has been a significant recovery in the construction sector since 2012. According to the Irish Construction Industry “the building and construction industry increased its volume of output by 4.1% in the second quarter of 2014 when compared to the previous year”. In residential construction the ESRI predict that between 10,000 and 12,000 new houses will be needed between now and 2015. Further predictions project that this requirement will double to between 20,000 and 25,000 homes to accommodate ongoing demographic change. A further report carried out by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland entitled the “Construction Sector Outlook 2014” has forecasted the creation of about 30,000 new jobs over the next few years. Workers Abroad Many of our skilled construction workers have left Ireland to seek opportunities abroad. A construction boom and tax free salaries have attracted many Irish construction workers to the Middle East. According to the Irish Times in the United Arab Emirates the Irish population has increased by about 30 per cent to an estimated 6,000 people. In Riyadh the Irish Embassy has reported an increase in the number of families now living in Saudi Arabia to an estimated 3,000 people and a further 1,000 Irish people residing in Qatar. Canada has also been an attractive destination for many of our engineering specialists due to its current scarcity of workers. It is estimated that 3,000 skilled Irish construction workers will be working in Canada as engineering specialists by the end of 2014. In addition to skilled construction workers leaving our shores many Irish construction companies have also set up new ventures overseas. Some of these companies’ strengths include English as the established business language and high innovation and design standards. In 2010 Irish construction firms P Elliot & Company Limited and Wills Bros Ltd set up a new joint venture in Saudi Arabia. In 2011 Sligo based company Jennings O’ Donovan & Partner followed suit and announced that it had secured a contract of 2.8m as the Primary Infrastructure Development for a large development in Bahrain. Irish construction companies such as Kentz, Laing O’Rourke and Kentech have also won significant projects with some offering attractive overseas packages for the construction professionals and their families. Talent Shortages in the Irish Market As the Irish construction housing market has seen a bounce-back in job opportunities, there are now not enough suitably qualified graduates to fill them. The downturn in the building sector five years ago triggered a dramatic fall in secondary school leavers interest in third level study in courses linked to this area. According to Career and Education News between 2008 and 2013, CAO first preferences for construction related courses plunged from 552 to 195. Engineers Ireland also recently highlighted that there will be a shortage of engineering graduates in the years ahead and that during the 2013/2014 academic year only 62 construction engineers graduated. An additional problem of having a percentage of our skilled construction workers overseas on high tax free salaries poses further problems for engineering companies in relation to the recruitment of staff. Future Outlook The ongoing recovery of the construction industry along with the issue of many of our skilled engineering professionals overseas poses questions for companies, educators and the government in how we ensure we have sufficient talent available for the opportunities which will emerge. The government recently announced a stimulus package for the construction industry titled “Construction 2020”. One of the points outlined within this package was a tax incentive scheme to increase supply for residential housing developments and to increase job numbers within the construction sector. While it is unwise to look for a situation where any sector is too popular a choice (demand for architecture and civil engineering during the boom was out of sync with future opportunities), there is certainly a case that more interest can be promoted in relevant construction courses. Many of our mechanical and electrical construction companies have reported difficulty in finding strong candidates for junior and intermediate roles – while there has simultaneously not been a large demand from school-leavers for building services courses. Along with this, experienced managers in the construction sector have commented that educators need to provide more “real world” exposure to future engineers towards the end of their third level education – eg. better Excel and planning software skills (MS Project, Primavera etc.) as these will enable them to bring greater value and “hit the ground running” with companies in the marketplace. It looks likely that Irish companies will try hard to attract many of our overseas engineers back home in the near future – they will also be interested to see if an increased number of skilled graduates can emerge through the education system. The answer to tackling the current deficit of qualified construction professionals should come from multiple sources including government incentives, upskilling current workers and promoting careers in construction to those entering third level education. As the Irish construction sector continues to show strong improvement we look forward to continuous growth in the year ahead.
Working as a Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Recruitment Consultant I’m very interested in educating people on a career in the building services industry. I’ve been recruiting in the industry for nearly three years and have noticed a significant drop in the amount of Building Services graduates entering into the workforce. M&E Engineering firms are constantly calling looking for assistance in filling positions they can’t seem to fill themselves. A career in Building Services can be very challenging and rewarding with several different types of positions available in the industry. It combines a flair for design and problem solving along with dynamic working environments in Ireland and abroad. According to the CAO, points for a place in Building Services have been relatively low over the last few years which is surprising given the job opportunities. What is Building Services? Building Services Engineers are responsible for designing and installing energy systems in buildings. These systems include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, water supply, fire protection, power, lighting and data communication systems. They work alongside architects and other engineering disciplines to design, develop and manage new technologies that impact the economy, utility, durability, and comfort of buildings. Working in Building Services Building Services Engineers can either work on the consultancy (design) side or the contractor (installation / commissioning) side of the industry. Both require knowledge of Building Services but are different in terms of day-to-day activities. Working for the Consultant – Design, Flair & Problem solving. Meeting with Clients. Tender / Concept design. Research new designs, technologies, and construction methods. Design calculations. Layout designs / drawings. Simulations. Working for the Contractor – Dynamic, Hands on, Commercial. Installation of M&E services. Commissioning of M&E services Interpret technical drawings and schematics. Environmental, Health and Safety on site. Provide feedback to design engineers on Client problems. Quality assurance. Careers & Opportunities Working as a Building Services Engineer there are several areas one can specialise in ranging from Residential / Commercial projects such as apartment complexes, offices and retail units to large Industrial / Pharmaceutical projects such as food processing plants, power stations and manufacturing facilities. As well as these projects happening in Ireland, there are plenty of opportunities in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and also Africa. Projects in the Commercial sector use conventional HVAC systems however above is a photo of the mechanical services in a Pharmaceutical plant. Plants like this have a higher demand for air, water, steam and other hazardous materials hence the larger and more specialised equipment. Salary Information Position Salary (1 – 2 years) € Salary (2 – 5 years) € Salary (5 years plus) € CAD Technician 25 – 27 27 – 30 30+ BIM Modeller 25 – 27 30 – 35 35+ Revit MEP Modeller 27 – 30 30 – 40 40+ Mechanical Design Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 50+ Electrical Design Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 50+ Mechanical Project Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 60+ Electrical Project Engineer 25 – 28 35 – 45 60+ Mechanical Project Manager N/A 40 – 60 70+ Electrical Project Manager N/A 40 – 60 70+ Software Building Services has come along way over the years in terms of the software used by engineers. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the most talked about / required package in the industry with it being used by both consultancies and contractors. It describes the process of designing a building collaboratively using a system of computer models rather than separate sets of drawings, this helps reduce the risk of errors through integrated design, engineering and fabrication workflows. Below is an image of how a coordination issue between the structural engineers and HVAC engineers was resolved long before the construction phase began, saving precious time, manpower and money. Before BIM, this issue may only have been spotted when the mechanical services were being installed and this issue would have been sent back to the consultants to reroute the services. Most companies nowadays will have BIM as a requirement on their job specifications however, if you have never used it before there are several types of courses available to do. Other software used in Building Services includes: Revit MEP IES Navisworks AutoCAD Dialux Hevacomp Having worked on very exciting roles with extremely innovative and dynamic companies, I find it hard to believe that there is not more of an interest in Building Services as a career. If you see yourself as someone with a flair for design, an interest in energy systems and good at problem solving then why not give me a call to discuss the first / next step in your career.