Construction workers are being called back to the old country…
A 2015 report, conducted by the Construction Industry Federation, showed that more than 1000 men working in construction related industries, committed suicide after the 2007 recession. It certainly makes for grim reading, however Irish construction workers who left for foreign lands in search of the streets paved with gold, are now being asked to return back to Ireland.
The 2007 recession caused massive damage to the construction industry, and workers jumped ship and sailed off in search of better opportunities. The downturn in construction was also off putting for potential apprentices who decided to seek training in other industries and subsequently left a skills gap…which now needs plugging.
Yet these statistics are largely coming from bodies with an invested interest like the Construction Industry Federation…so is all that glitters really gold!
Are construction professionals able to demand higher wages?
Whilst electricians and carpenter salaries may not be more attractive in the green isle, workers with a more advanced skill set may be set to benefit? And it is particularly good news for architects, site managers and quantity surveyors, as statistics show that these senior positions frequently come with remuneration packages which hit the 100,000 euros mark.
Is it all good news for construction workers?
It may seem that all is rosy in the garden, but the recovery rate since 2007 means that there are still less than 50% of the numbers of employees in the construction industry, compared to numbers prior to the recession.
Whilst the need for quantity surveyors grows and pushes up salaries, it is a different story for electricians and carpenters, where statistics show that there are often up to 3 people competing for the same position. Whilst recovery is evident, the pace is not fast enough to return job levels to the same as they were during the heights of the property boom before 2007.
Northern Ireland company Heron Bros. stated that a lack of work in Northern Ireland meant they are continually sending workers over to the Mainland and have now set up a permanent office in Glasgow.
Whilst the company celebrates continued growth, they claim they are having to look for work outside of Northern Ireland in a bid to ensure they can continue to find employment for their 260 strong work force.
What happens in Dublin, stays in Dublin…
A sentiment which largely claims that any sign of improvement is Dublin centric and not being felt by the rest of the country. Perhaps a true statement, but economists claim that the rest of the country can only prosper, when Dublin manages to fully recover.
The skyline of Dublin is currently crowded with cranes building glossy office blocks which attracted the likes of Google, Facebook and now major players in the finance industry. Across a range of construction roles, including those on quantity surveyor salaries or site manager salaries, workers employed in Dublin are likely to be earning an average of 5k more when compared to someone with the same level of experience who is working elsewhere in Ireland.
Big plans for the rest of Ireland
In mainland UK, it is widely accepted that London generally provides more opportunities and increased salaries. However in Ireland, there are currently big plans for the rest of the country, in a bid to address this balance, but the success of the scheme would be reliant on a continuously thriving construction industry.
The Ireland 2040 initiative is a plan designed to develop cities, regions and to bring balance across Ireland. And construction is key to ensuring this project is successful, with an estimated 112,000 employees being needed to obtain the current housing and building strategies plans. Could this be another Celtic Tiger moment for Ireland?
Whilst industry professionals celebrate the plans and visions for the future of Ireland, they also highlight that the Government needs to better support and invest in the current construction industry if the skills and infrastructure are to deliver such ambitious plans.
Let’s take a look at the evidence…
Whilst the jury won’t report on the facts, figures and trends for this year until 2018, we have got some conclusive information on the last 12 months . As originally suggested the hottest jobs include quantity surveyors, project managers and safety professionals. Whilst salaries continue to rise across the industry, construction positions including quantity surveyors and site managers, with approximately 5 years of experience, are likely to enjoy the biggest increase in wages.
The upsurge in construction activity is having a positive effect for tradespeople including carpenters and electricians, but the deficit from 2007, is only likely to be eliminated with assistance from government bodies.
Whilst Irish eyes were left crying in the construction downturn…we ask, will the promise of increased activity, tempt Irish workers back home, when jobs and salaries for site managers and electricians are so much better rewarded in the UK, Canada and Dubai?
Watch this space.