Irish engineering industry continues growth into 2018

Barry Bowen 19.01.2018

Widespread reports published across a number of journals since the beginning of 2018 all point towards another buoyant year for the manufacturing engineering industry in Ireland with further job growth expected. This time last year continuous growth was in doubt as the ongoing fallout of Brexit and the arrival of Trump joined forces to create economic uncertainty in Ireland.

The IDA is the Irish Government agency responsible for attracting foreign investment to Ireland. They recently announced that employment levels in foreign-owned companies have reached 210,443. Some of the reasons why Ireland is seen as such an attractive location to so many leading companies including nine of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies are:

  • Location: Ireland is the closest EU country to the US. The access we have with direct flights to the Middle East, in particular Dubai, also boosts our chances of attracting the best companies and employees. The fact that we will soon become the only country in the EU where English is spoken fluently on a national level can only benefit us further. 
     
  • Education: In 2015 Irish graduates were credited as having the most highly employable graduates in the World. This is largely due to the Irish government committing to an annual investment of 10% in education compared to an EU average of 3%.
     
  • Tax: Our personal, business and even political relationships with the US appear to have weathered the first quarter of Trump in the White House. While mutterings sporadically arise in regards to how some countries perceive our tax breaks the fact is Ireland is fourth of the OECD 35 countries when it comes to ‘ease of doing business’.

    Closer to home, angel investment is heavily promoted in Ireland with incentives that encourage investment by some of our leading business figures. A recent example is the investment that Cork native and VoxPro co-founder Dan Kiely made in Irish startup company Abodoo. 

These are just some of the reasons why my colleague Jean Ward and I are lucky enough to be involved in so many manufacturing, automation and process engineering roles. The aforementioned nine leading pharmaceutical companies working closely with the IDA employ a staggering 25,000 people in Ireland. No surprise then that the IDA exceeded their five-year job creation target two years early as a result of attracting other leading companies such as Stryker, BD, Abbott and Boston Scientific. The recently published 2018 Engineering  Salary Guide complied by Morgan McKinley reflects the growth in employment levels

In the week leading up to Christmas the engineering recruitment team in Morgan McKinley hosted a series of open days aimed at meeting expats home for the festive season. The level of interest made the whole experience very worthwhile, we even had one mother from Mayo wondering what opportunities existed for her son currently working in New Zealand.

In the information we received from perspective parents we learnt that the main item concerning those looking to move home is the housing crisis the country is facing in large urban areas throughout the country. The general consensus from those we met seems to be that professionals returning home don’t necessarily mind paying rent but they would like to live somewhere that reflects the amount of rent they are paying compared to what they have become used to living in Vancouver, or Sydney or Shanghai. 

Since the beginning of December we have also noticed a huge amount of interest in engineering applications for jobs from highly-skilled non-EU members looking to align themselves with some of our clients. It’s inevitable that visa applications will rise over the coming 12 months. If the trend continues more and more critical skill visas will also need to be issued in order to meet the demand that is going to be there.

According to Philip O'Sullivan, Chief Economist with Investec, “The pace of growth in the manufacturing sector as 2017 came to an end was the strongest in almost 20 years.” It was a similar picture for manufacturers across the EU. Despite the uncertainty over Brexit and Trump, the good news is that engineering jobs will continue to rise in Ireland. The IDA have carried out Trojan work in recent years to ensure Ireland continues to be an attractive and viable location for further foreign direct investment and growth. While investment from the USA may drop slightly in 2018 it is expected to rise from other countries with an overall employment growth of +2.2% expected for Ireland this coming year. 

If you would like to discuss engineering recruitment in Ireland please feel free to contact me or one of my colleagues on the engineering recruitment team

 

Barry Bowen's picture
Senior Consultant | Manufacturing, Automation, Process & Project Engineering | Dublin & South East.
bbowen@morganmckinley.ie

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