Employment in the construction sector rebounded rapidly in the first quarter of this year, showing an increase of 9,500 new jobs, a rise of 7.8 per cent. This is an increase of 28,000 jobs since the first quarter of 2012.
However, the figures released also show a stark contrast between unemployment figures in Dublin, standing at 6.9 per cent, and regional locations, with the south-east unemployment rate standing at 12.5 per cent.
Director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF ), Tom Parlon, welcomed the figures but also voiced concern regarding the gap in employment opportunities in the regions as opposed to the capital: “These impressive jobs growth figures show that our members are now seen as a destination of choice for young people seeking careers,” he said.
“The industry that has emerged from the recession is very different to that of the past. Careers in construction are now globally transferable and very rewarding. We are seeing huge increases in areas such as project management, trades, management, and increasingly marketing. Due to a lack of activity in the housebuilding side for the moment, particularly in the regions, employment growth is occurring in civil engineering, contracting and in trades as the industry ramps up to meet the demand of Ireland’s rapidly growing economy and population.
“A concern from today’s announcement is the number of people still unemployed across the regions outside of Dublin, owing to a lopsided economic recovery. The new Government must do more to spread growth outside of the Greater Dublin Area and provide job opportunities regionally. This can only be achieved with a focus on improving regional infrastructure. We will not attract further FDI to the regions unless essential road, rail, water, and other vital infrastructural upgrades occur. Only then will regional communities and youths reap the benefit of higher quality jobs.”
The CIF has set up a new website that aims to match employers and jobseekers to suitable apprenticeships across the country. Check it out at www.apprentices.ie