Science, Technical Engineering, Supply Chain & Construction Division in Cpl. The team provides specialist recruitment of staff for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, clinical research, medical device, cosmetic, manufacturing engineering, semi-conductor, food, H&S, environmental, energy industries.
Engineering sector assessment
The Engineering sector has been pivotal to the global response to Covid. From innovations in medical devices to challenges in the new work environment engineers have been working relentlessly, to keep our homes heated, to keep those around us safe and to keep the global economy moving. This of course means demand for Engineering roles had remained competitive compared to the rest of the economy, which has only now begun to bounce back from near total global shut-down. In January 2021, over 650,000 people were on the pandemic unemployment payment, Engineers Ireland conducted its annual employment survey. They found over 61%of respondents felt there are plenty of job opportunities in the sector in Ireland. A surprisingly positive result considering the overall economic outlook at the time. Add in that 79%of Engineering companies in Ireland were planning to recruit in 2021, despite the pandemic, and the overall picture for the sector is incredibly positive. Especially for graduates entering the field.
Positives for the Engineering industry in 2022
2022 looks to be a positive year for the over 200 overseas and indigenous Engineering firms operating in Ireland. The industry is already well-positioned for growth as the post-pandemic economy shifts gears and the new focus on shorter supply chains and sustainability raise interesting challenges which engineers will be tasked with. The Government’s new Industry 4.0 strategy is supporting digital transformation, upskilling and innovation within the Manufacturing and Engineering sectors. This is a welcome boost not just to the industry, but a great refocusing of the economy. Ireland has the highest number of STEM graduates per capita in the EU (European Union), with 27%of students enrolled in STEM, and this new government initiative acknowledges the need to grow future jobs aligned with growth industries and high wages. A welcome note is most Engineering roles, 4 out of 5, are outside Dublin, meaning the regions will get a needed boost from job growth within the sector.
Negatives for the Engineering industry in 2022
Some of the ever-present issues in Engineering persist into 2022. The gender gap in a traditionally male-dominated industry comes to mind-only 12%of engineers in Ireland are women. However, initiatives including Industry 4.0 aim to increase awareness of how fulfilling a career in Engineering can be regardless of gender.
Changes to the international tax system, which will see Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate go to 15% in 2023 are also causing some concerns. Many people may have come to view this as Ireland’s only offering when our arsenal is very robust. Ensuring this myth is dispelled and foreign direct investment continues to flow into the Engineering sector is key.
But the biggest issue is a lack of qualified engineers to fill all the roles available. Employers are finding it exceedingly difficult to not only fill roles, but to retain staff. As soon as an employee indicates their intention to move on, they are being met with a counteroffer. Most employers realise that not only is it incredibly difficult to find new talent, but it is even more difficult to replace the level of tacit knowledge that their own employees have. Companies who seriously value and appreciate their staff are constantly out there researching and benchmarking against the market and constantly focusing on looking at strategies to increase the competitiveness of their salaries and benefits packages as part of their ability to retain talent. This focus on employee value is fantastic for both existing employees and those entering the Engineering field. However, from a recruitment perspective, makes it challenging to fill new positions.
Critical skills companies need to develop for success in 2022
All industries will need to continue to adapt to the ever-changing Covid situation. Many employees have taken to work from home and hybrid models of working. A clear focus on meeting these needs will be essential to remain competitive in the talent market. Emphasis on graduates and internal training will help alleviate long-term talent issues. Policies designed to drive innovation and growth by creating a more accessible workplace for women is also recommended. With over 42%of the companies based in Ireland focused on research and development within key fields including Aerospace, Chemical & advanced materials, and industrial automation, having a growth mindset with a focus on R&D will help attract new talent interested in gaining knowledge in industry-specific fields.