The Irish engineering sector is optimistic about its business prospects for 2020 despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty, a survey by Engineers Ireland has found.

Financial position to improve next year

The findings, published ahead of the tenth annual Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2019 later this week, indicate that 69 per cent of the industry’s leading CEOs, directors and senior HR executives surveyed expect the financial position of their company will improve next year.

The findings come despite ongoing concerns about the economic impact of Brexit, the housing shortage and a fall in the KBC Consumer Sentiment Index for a fourth month in a row in October, the first time this has happened since late 2012.

Two thirds of engineering employers and leaders surveyed believe the shortage of experienced and appropriately skilled engineers is potentially a major barrier to growth, with 48 per cent looking at recruiting talent from abroad to undertake future projects.

This year, almost 37 per cent of Engineers Ireland’s new members came from outside of Ireland and Great Britain, coming from countries such as Brazil, South Africa and India, compared to just 20 per cent of members in 2016.

Engineers Ireland director general Caroline Spillane said: “Despite the constant Brexit turmoil, lingering economic uncertainty and very complicated international trade conditions, we are seeing positive sentiment in the Irish engineering sector and a robust outlook in terms of growth opportunities for 2020.

'Shortage of experienced and appropriately skilled engineers'

“The shortage of experienced and appropriately skilled engineers however, continues to be an issue for many engineering companies, with many employers increasingly looking abroad for engineers with the requisite expertise in digital technology and climate action to undertake planned projects.

"It is incumbent on the engineering sector, government and the education system to work together and collectively better develop the pipeline of engineers that is so badly needed to drive our national infrastructure development and sustainability goals.”

Industry leaders surveyed also highlighted the importance of lifelong learning in an era of rapid technological change and the need for adaptable employment practices, with 84 per cent investing in upskilling/reskilling current employees, 68 per cent collaborating with educational institutions in this respect, and 68 per cent offering flexible working options.

The winner of the Engineering Project of the Year, sponsored by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, will be announced at the tenth Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, in association with ESB, at a special ceremony this evening, Friday, November 15, at the InterContinental Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

The Engineering Project of the Year shortlist:

  • IAA Visual Control Tower, Dublin Airport by Arup
  • Cruiserath Biologics by Bristol Myers Squibb
  • East Tip Haulbowline Island Remediation Project by Cork County Council, RPS, PJ Hegarty & Sons and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  • Dublin Port Ro-Ro Jetty by Keating
  • Ocean Pier Berth 31-34 by Keating
  • Center Parcs Longford Forest by ORS

For further information about the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2019 visit this page.