Increased flexibility in terms of skills, qualifications and experience requirements is becoming commonplace…

Eleanor Collins 08.04.2019

As we come to the end of Q1, our expert recruitment consultants have provided insights into the current employment market within Engineering.

In this Q1 Review, we will be looking at; current trends within the market, talent attraction and retention, unique industry benefits, relevant skills and qualifications, notable behaviours from professionals and any legislation changes or political events set to have an impact on the industry.

Throughout the first few months of 2019 companies are becoming more open-minded regarding the skills and experience they require. There is an increase in the demand for trade qualifications vs third level qualified professionals. However, cultural fit remains a strong hiring trend for most organisations along with a preference for specific industry background.

Within the Automation, Manufacturing, Process and Project Management space employers are struggling to retain staff. This is mainly due to market demand across the industry to support organic growth, new product introduction and relocation of product lines from other locations globally. On the flip side, Mechanical Design and R&D Departments are experiencing significant success in terms of employee retention - this is essentially down to the exciting and innovative products and projects on offer. Within the Medical Device industry, there seems to be a great deal of movement of talent between companies, particularly in the South East of the country. 

Retention is always a topical issue and one which will continue to take priority for employers throughout 2019. It is at the forefront of employers minds always and those who are successful in the area are engaging in negotiating flexible working arrangements in order to keep quality employees. Naturally enough, employee retention does not apply when it comes to the contract side of things. 

Moving on to talent attraction, companies are using various tactics in order to attract and engage the best talent. For example, some hiring managers are highly aware of how to reach their target market, using initiatives focused on employer branding, selling their story and showing what it’s like to work on their specific team, etc. In Cork in particular, companies are struggling to hire Mechanical Designers or Electro-Mechanical Design Engineers. Companies are having to move at a rapid pace in order to secure the best talent. Within the Quality Engineering market, companies that have a good reputation, streamlined hiring process and competitive pay and benefits tend to do well in attracting the right professionals. LinkedIn and other social platforms are on the rise and many organisations are also using in-house referrals for talent attraction. 


Notable trends among professionals include professionals taking a pay cuts in favour of a shorter commute and a better work/life balance. Shift work is also becoming more prevalent so that parents can cut down on childcare fees. Professionals are moving towards roles that have more flexibility or looking to engage in part time work or a reduced working week. Location is a key consideration for employees at the moment. The most important factors for Quality candidates in particular when considering a move are flexibility, location and future projects/ company growth plans. More and more people seem to be relocating outside of Dublin in order to achieve cheaper rent. Aside from this, there is a huge demand in employees switching from permanent employment to contract employment. Contract rates are getting higher, even for those with minimal experience, and so there is a certain appeal for people towards this kind of work. Another trend worth mentioning is that employees are upskilling between Pharma and Med Device in order to enable them to work in both industries.


Some examples of unique benefits include;

  • Flexitime
  • CPD - 53rd week Bonus
  • Education assistance programs
  • Sign on bonus  
  • Offers to pay for further education
  • Flexible working week (working 39/40 hours over 4/4.5 days, working 4 days in the office and one remotely, work from home options)
  • Half day Fridays, 4 day work week 
  • Complimentary gym access
  • Strong culture of continuous improvement and innovation
  • Subsidised canteen
  • Car Parking 

Relevant Skills & Qualifications and Desirable Attributes:

  • Having the initiative to think outside the box and a proven track record in working outside of their remit 
  • Taking a genuine interest in the company (Having relevant reasons for choosing this particular company and role)  
  • Using the STAR format to discuss previous projects they have worked on and completed. 
  • Showing an interest in upcoming projects and getting involved - Professional development within Quality, pursuing a QP qualification, one in Lean Six Sigma or as a Lead auditor.
  • Extensive research on the company, culture, values, vision, product portfolio and current affairs.
  • Whiteboard presentations, producing work samples and using internal referrals.
  • Qualification/ Degree in Quality/Science/ Engineering

Legislation changes, political events and industry occurrences:

Brexit will have a big impact on the industry this year. We will continue to see professionals relocating to Ireland to support their career ambitions and utilizing it as a gateway to Europe. We are seeing an increased demand for Serialization professionals to support new legislation across the pharmaceutical & manufacturing industries.

The investment in Ireland will continue to support the changes that come with Brexit. This is creating compelling daily rate contract opportunities for candidates who are willing to make the move from permanent to contract. The opportunity is outweighing the risk, and it will payoff in the long term for candidates who want to drive their career forward. The recent changes with working visas in Ireland are having a very positive impact for both candidates and potential employers.

Continue learning about the Q1 recruitment market by clicking here.

Eleanor Collins's picture
Associate Director


Mechanical Design Engineer - Louth
12-Month Contract - Hourly Rate - Top 5 Med-Device - Cork - €35+ per hour
Fantastic Opportunity to join an excellent company as a Senior Automation Project Engineer