Engineers positive about 2020 business prospects despite Brexit concerns, survey shows

Engineers positive about 2020 business prospects despite Brexit concerns, survey shows

15 November 2019 at 08:48

48% of engineering employers looking abroad for engineers due to skills shortage in Ireland

Engineering Project of the Year winner to be announced at 10th Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards today

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

The findings, published ahead of the tenth annual Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2019 later this week, indicate that 69% 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% looking at recruiting talent from abroad to undertake future projects. This year, almost 37% 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% of members in 2016.

Commenting on the survey insights, 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.

“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% investing in upskilling/reskilling current employees, 68% collaborating with educational institutions in this respect, and 68% offering flexible working options.

The winner of the Engineering Project of the Year will be announced at the tenth Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, in association with ESB, at a special ceremony this  evening, Friday, 15 November, at the InterContinental Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.  The Engineering Project of the Year shortlist, the flagship category which involves a public vote and is sponsored by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, features: 

  • 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.

Editor’s note:

About the survey:

Engineers Ireland surveyed 147 engineering leaders (CEOs, Directors and HR) between October 17 and October 31 from organisations in manufacturing, construction, consultancy and other areas (ICT, public sector, utilities, etc) across the Republic of Ireland.

Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2019 – additional category list:

Local Authority Engineering Initiative Award, sponsored by Colas Bitumen Emulsions

  • Clare County Council Engineers to the Fore! Preparing for the Irish Open in Lahinch by Clare County Council
  • Mary Elmes Bridge by Cork City Council, Keating and Arup
  • East Tip Haulbowline Island Remediation Project by Cork County Council, RPS, PJ Hegarty & Sons and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  • Skibbereen Flood Relief Scheme by Cork County Council, supported by the Office of Public Works, and in partnership with RPS and Jons Civil Engineering
  • Kilkenny StreetLight LED Retrofit Pilot Project by Kilkenny County Council in partnership with 3cea (3 Counties Energy Agency) and Hayes Higgins Partnership

Sustainability Award, sponsored by Irish Water

  • Fernhill Park & Gardens by Arup and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
  • Fixed Electrical Ground Power by daa AMD
  • Kerdiffstown Landfill Remediation Project by Kildare County Council and Jacobs
  • Dŵr Uisce by Trinity College Dublin and Bangor University

Heritage and Conservation Award, sponsored by OPW

  • Swords Castle – East Tower Consolidation by Fingal County Council, David Kelly Partnership and CORA Consulting Engineers
  • Kilmallock West Wall Walkway by Limerick City and County Council
  • Cork Courthouse “Model School”, Anglesea Street, Cork by Malachy Walsh & Partners Civil & Structural Engineers
  • Hillsborough Castle and Gardens by O’Connor Sutton Cronin & Associates (Belfast) Ltd

Engineering Education Award, sponsored by Accenture

  • Where There is No Engineer – Designing for Community Resilience by Engineers Without Borders Ireland
  • Certificate in Building Control Management by the National Building Control Office, Institute of Technology Carlow and Local Authority Services National Training Group
  • Inspiring Collaboration to Create and Develop Engineering Talent by Limerick for Engineering
  • EDGE Programme by CONNECT Centre at Trinity College Dublin
  • Inspiring Future Civil Engineers by the School of Civil Engineering, University College Dublin.

Geoscience Ireland Award, sponsored by Geoscience Ireland

  • Lidl Regional Distribution Centre, Newbridge – Enabling Works Contract (Ground Improvement) by AGL Consulting, John Paul Construction and Newton Ground Engineering
  • Improving drought resilience of Irish Water Groundwater Supplies in the South West by Arup
  • GFG Alliance, Overburden Beneficiation Plant SIMEC Mining by CDE Meta
  • Landslide Hazard and Risk Mapping in Guatemala City by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions
  • Concrete End of Waste by Golder

Best Presentation Award, sponsored by Beale & Co and Griffiths & Armour

  • Presentation: Design and Construction of the Northern Spire Bridge Sunderland by: Simon Fryer (Burro Happold Engineering), Tony Dempsey (Roughan O’Donovan) and Stephen McCaffrey Chartered Engineer (Farrans-Victor Buyck) Nominated by: The Civil division.
  • Presentation: New Materials and Control of 3D Morphology – a game changer for many applications by: Dermot Brabazon, Chartered Engineer. Nominated by: Mechanical and Manufacturing division.
  • Presentation: Lean Management Systems applied to Hyper-scale Data Center Construction Breakfast Briefing by: Fiachra O Muíneacháin, Kevin McHugh, Stephen Walls and Pat Egan at MACE. Nominated by: Project Management society.

Chartered Engineer of the Year, sponsored by Arup

  • Declan Gavigan, MSD
  • Ciarán Hanley, Malachy Walsh and Partners
  • Tony McGuinness, ESB Generation
  • Frances Murray, Cork County Fire Service
  • Dr. Cristina Paduano, B-Fluid
  • Brian Twohig, Arup

The winners of the following categories will also receive awards at the ceremony on Friday, 15 November.