Skills shortages signify €100,000 salaries for Irish construction workers

The demand for experienced workers within the construction industry has increased by 40% in the past year, according to recruitment firm Hays.

Struggling against a scarcity of skilled workers, companies are upping the stakes to €100,000 to procure senior building workers. The recruitment company said the demand for architects particularly has rocketed in the past month, increasing by 60%. Other areas where skills shortages apply include engineers, quantity surveyors and senior contract managers.

Hays recruitment company said the high salaries are reflective of the escalating need for experienced workers.

 “For example, senior contract managers with over 15 years’ experience can now command salaries of €90,000 plus benefits annually, meanwhile experienced architects can expect salaries in excess of €55,000,” it said.

Hays also supplied estimates that indicated senior contract managers with 15 years or more experience in the field could earn as much as €100,000 which shows a marked increase from 2015 when figures were sitting between €80,000 and €85,000. Similarly, a project manager with eight years’ experience could secure an income of around €75,000 – an increase of between €5,000 and €10,000 compared to 2015. Quantity surveyors can enjoy similar salary hikes with estimated earnings sitting between €60,000 and €65,000, after hovering between €50,000 and €55,000 two years ago.


Overseas interest

These salary hikes have garnered interested from overseas with many applications coming in from Irish workers currently employed within the UK construction and property sectors. The month of July saw a 35% increase in applications from overseas. UK-based applicants have enjoyed considerable success in their Irish job-seeking, with around 75% of interviewees finding positions.

Ireland director for Hays recruitment, Mike McDonagh, said July has been a particularly busy period for the construction and property sector in terms of recruitment.

“The ongoing scarcity of commercial and residential property in Dublin has been central to this demand and has created an unprecedented growth in the hiring of skilled professionals such as architects, engineers and quantity surveyors,” he said.

 Lack of staff


According the Central Statistics Office figures, early 2013 saw a lull in construction sector employment, with just 96,000 workers employed. This has risen to 130,000 in the first quarter of 2017. However, these figures still languish in light of the 270,000 construction workers employed prior to the property market slump in 2007.

A study published in June showed that over 60% of building companies were struggling to find workers with the relevant required skills and experience. This showed a significant upsurge compared to 2016, when less than half of firms surveyed reported problems with recruitment.

The Annual PwC study interviewed 60 companies and developers throughout Ireland, many of whom said they were seeking applicants with experience in management.

A further report released earlier this year by the skills and labour market research unit in Solas found that the demand for construction workers had increased by nearly 50% since 2014.

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