Returning emigrants in demand as 112,000 employees required to deliver €17.8b in construction activity

12 Dec 2016

CIF launch targeting the Diaspora to fill jobs required to deliver ambitious targets in Government housing, infrastructure and FDI strategies The Construction Industry Federation today launched a website featuring career opportunities as the construction industry is set to grow by 9% annually up to 2020. A report commissioned by the CIF, (Demand for Skills in Construction to 2020) and carried out by DKM economic consultants, states that construction activity can sustain an additional 112,000 jobs up to 2020 with an estimated €17.8billion worth of projects in the pipeline in 2017.

The report identified the demand for the different professions and trades within the construction industry for the next three years. It found that the Irish industry will require up to 2020 in the region of:cmc3188-21

  • 15,200 electricians
  • 7,800 bricklayers
  • 11,800 plumbers
  • 30,800 carpenters and joiners
  • 13,900 plasters/Floor and tilers
  • 9,400 painters and decorators
  • 9,600 managers
  • 18,100 operatives
  • 27,600 general labourers

Director General of the CIF, Tom Parlon stated;

“The construction industry is growing strongly across all our sectors and trades. We are asking Irish people with construction experience who have left Ireland to consider returning to take up a role in construction. There is sufficient work in the pipeline to require about another 112,000 jobs up to 2020 and beyond.

For example, Construction Information Services estimate over €17.8b in the construction pipeline from planning submitted to projects being completed (and every stage in-between) as we enter 2017. In addition, the Government’s will likely expand the €43billion Capital Programme in 2017, the Rebuilding Ireland Strategy envisages an annual output of 25,000 houses per year by 2020 and the demand for specialist buildings related to FDI is increasing. So, there is a strong basis for people to build strong careers in construction here in Ireland.

The potential prize for the industry delivering on these strategies is huge in terms of economic growth, jobs, and recovery in the regions. With a forecast of 9% annual growth on average the construction sector will be a €20 billion sustainable industry by 2020.

The CIF is attempting to ensure there are sufficient skilled employees by engaging in several initiatives. We’re working with the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) to upskill those on the live register with construction experience. We’re attracting young people into the industry by highlighting the modern globalised careers available. Finally, we’re trying to get the positive news about the industry and Ireland in general to those in the diaspora to attract them back. will highlight the jobs available in our member companies and allow potential candidates to engage directly with Ireland’s leading construction companies.”

The CIF is partnering with a number of organisations such as DKM consultants, Hays Recruitment Ireland, ICDS Recruitment, and the CIF’s Pension Administration Services to inform Irish emigrants of the opportunities in Ireland.

Key Findings

Overall Construction Prospects to 2020

  • The scenario presented for construction output shows that kthe value of output recovered in 2015 to around €12.65 billion (6.2% of GNP), having reached its lowest value in the current cycle in 2012 (€9.4 billion). The outturn for 2015 is based on 12,666 house completions. For 2016 the forecast is for 14,000 new dwellings, growing to 20,000 units in 2018 and 32,500 in 2020.
  • The overall volume of construction output is forecast to increase by 12.5 per cent this year to around €15 billion (6.9% of GNP), followed by growth of 8.5 per cent in 2017 and 7.1 per cent in 2018. The average annual growth rate in the period 2016-2020 is projected at 9.1 per cent. The volume of construction output by 2020 is forecast to reach €20.2 billion (in 2015 prices), or just over 10% of GNP.
  • When the gross value added (GVA) of the industry is measured – its contribution in terms of the wages and profits earned by building workers and construction companies – the construction GVA was valued at €6 billion or 3 per cent of GNP in 2015, compared with less than 2 per cent at the height of the recession and 11 per cent of GNP at the peak.

Key Risks

Although the scenario presented is subject to a number of downside risks, including uncertainty over Brexit, there is a substantial volume of work planned by the commercial and industrial sectors in response to the economic recovery and the growth in population. There is also considerable pent-up demand for housing which, if delivered, could see the level of housebuilding by 2020 returning to more normal levels. The industry is in recovery phase and is on course to experience the most positive outlook for construction in a decade, provided it has the skills available to meet the demands on the industry.

Implications for Construction Skills

  • There were 136,900 persons directly employed in construction in Q2 2016, 6.8 per cent of the total workforce. When persons indirectly employed in those firms and services supplying the construction sector are included, the total number employed was 191,700 or 9.5 per cent of the total workforce in Q2 2016.
  • There were 63,800 qualified skilled craftspersons with construction-related skills in the whole economy in 2015.
  • There were around 46,000 self-employed persons in the construction industry in 2015, which corresponds to 36 per cent of the total number working in the industry.
  • Based on the construction output scenario presented in this report, it would seem sensible to plan for an industry that will provide direct employment for around 213,000 persons by 2020, compared with 136,900 in Q2 2016. This amounts to an additional 76,000 jobs over the next four years, and would return direct employment in the sector to Q4 2008 levels.
  • The cumulative labour replacement demand in the period 2016-2020 is estimated at almost 36,000 construction workers, which is significant in the context of the total expansion demand by 2020. Based on expansion and replacement demand, the total labour requirement over the next four years is around 112,000 workers.
  • The total skilled craftspersons working in construction in 2015 was 48,900. The industry will require an additional almost 36,000 skilled craftspersons (including apprentices) by 2020.
  • The forecast of the total requirement for new apprentices in 2020 is 3,835, over 2,000 above the intake levels for the most recent calendar year (2015).

Construction Industry Statistics

Construction Industry

Construction Output (2015) €13bn
Construction Output (2016 Estimated) €15bn
Projected Output (2016 Estimated) €20bn
New Residential Construction Output (2015) €3bn
New Non-Residential Construction Output (2015) €3bn
New Civil Engineering Output (2015) €3bn
All Renovation Output (2015) €4bn
Output % of GNP (2015) 6.2%
Gross Value-added (2015) €6bn
Exports (2014 constructions products only) €1.6bn

Employment Profile

Current Employment Level 137,000
Peak Level (2007) 273,900
Lowest level (2013) 96,300
Forecast of direct employment (2020) 213,000
Growth rate of 1,000 per month last year since recession ended 39,200 jobs
% of new jobs created in construction (2015) 22.5%
Enterprises (2014) (98%47,349
Combined Direct and Indirect employment 191,700
Self-employed 46,000
Skilled Craftspeople in Industry 63,800
Apprenticeships (2015) 4,400
New applications for apprenticeships (up to Sep 2016) 1465
Forecast demand required (2020) 3835

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