The supply of third-level engineering graduates and professional engineering apprentices must dramatically increase to meet the country’s current and future needs, a new report by Engineers Ireland has stated.
The report found that the 55% decrease in civil and building engineering graduates over the last five years was ‘a particular cause of concern’, although it did note that there had been a 48% increase in entrants to civil and building engineering courses in higher education albeit from a low base since 2012.
There is ongoing buoyancy in the engineering sector according to the report, with 77% of employers’ financial position improving in 2018 and 89% expecting their financial position to improve in 2019 despite Brexit uncertainties. To ensure that its members’ ability to work across jurisdictions is not impacted negatively by Brexit, Engineers Ireland has also reached strategic agreements with peer organisations in the UK, the report said.
This positive business performance is translating into significant demand for engineers the report said, with over 6,000 job openings expected this year and graduate salaries (on average €33,750) up 21% since 2014.
Almost all (94%) engineering employers surveyed however consider a shortage of experienced engineers to be a barrier to growth – and almost half expect this situation to get worse in 2019. Civil and building engineers are most in demand with 59% of organisations surveyed looking to hire engineers in this discipline.