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*training, Construction engineering
The construction sector in Ireland has gone through a period of extremes in the last decade, from an exceptionally high growth to deep and prolonged recession. The backdrop to this report, however, is one of favourable economic and industry conditions. Economic growth is positive, exchequer balances are improving, unemployment continues to decline and sentiment within the construction industry is strong across most sub-sectors.
The construction labour market however, remains in a state of disequilibrium. The severe recession had devastating consequences on construction firms in Ireland resulting in company closures, redundancy and mass emigration. At the same time the number of new registrations onto construction education and training programmes plummeted as the industry was characterised as having uncertain career opportunities. While the economy and the construction sector are currently in a growth cycle, there remain two legacy issues within the construction labour market that may hamper the ability of the sector to reach full potential. Firstly, for some companies, the threat of entering into another recession in the future may act as a deterrent to staff recruitment, most notably apprentices. In addition, due to the reduction in registrations on apprenticeship programmes for several years, there now lacks the requisite number of trained construction workers to meet demand for construction output across all sectors. The Demand for Skills in Construction to 2020 report published by the CIF/DKM Economic Consultants in 2016 highlighted the need to increase the number of skilled construction workers to ensure the industry had the ability to meet future demand. The need is even more pronounced in light of the proposed €115bn expenditure as part of the National Development Plan (NDP). It is essential that the construction labour market has the capacity to deliver the priorities therein in a viable and timely manner.
The purpose of this report is to acquire construction labour market insight directly from employers with specific focus on employment trends, enablers and barriers.
Ó Murchadha, Eoghan & Murphy, Róisin. (2018). Trades & apprenticeships skills survey. Dublin: Construction Industry Federation.