Engineering and related sectors grew rapidly in 2017, according to the latest figures from Enterprise Ireland supported companies. Engineering, construction and life sciences each rose by 8% over the past year, while related sectors in electronics (6% increase), digital technology (6% increase) and ICT (5% increase) also demonstrated strong growth.
These findings mirror those of a recent Engineers Ireland survey, with 60% of engineering employers saying their financial position improved or greatly improved in 2017. Engineering employers are very confident for the year ahead with 79% of employers expecting their business to grow further and 82% of employers expecting to hire in 2018.
Welcoming the jobs figures and outlook, Engineers Ireland Director General, Caroline Spillane said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see the level of growth in the engineering sector over the past number of years. 2017 was a very strong year for our profession and we are very confident of further progress in 2018.”
The survey also captured some of the challenges facing growth in the sector. For example, half of engineering employers believe that there is an inadequate supply of engineers with the necessary skills to meet their organisation’s needs in the medium term.
Ms Spillane continued: “Demand for rigorously trained and innovative engineers is buoyant, with their skills fundamental to the country’s economic growth and development. We will need a steady supply of engineers, with the necessary skill sets, to boost local economies, create new jobs and facilitate sustainable development.”
“We must continue to inspire students at primary and post-primary levels to equip themselves with an adequate knowledge of STEM, to study engineering at third level and go on to work in the profession. Through Engineers Week and initiatives such as Engineering Your Future, Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme actively encourages students, their teachers and parents to explore the diverse opportunities a career in engineering offers,” she said.
Now in its 12th year, Engineers Week 2018 will take place from 24 February to 2 March. The seven-day programme of nationwide events celebrates the world of engineering and is coordinated on a national basis by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme – funded as a strategic partner of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Smart Futures programme.
To find out more about events taking place around the country, download free resources or to register an event visit www.engineersweek.ie. As well as events organised by companies, third-level institutions and the public sector, teachers are also encouraged to run their own classroom-based activities, quizzes and competitions.