DKM report portrays potential of Ireland’s construction industry - CIF

Tom Parlon, CIF director general. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Tom Parlon, CIF director general. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

A report commissioned by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF ) and carried out by DKM consultants in conjunction with SOLAS, states that construction activity could potentially generate a requirement for 112,000 jobs up to 2020.

In the course of the next three years, the report estimates that we will need 112,000 additional workers in construction to deliver on the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s €43 billion Capital Programme, the Rebuilding Ireland Strategy, and in meeting the increasing demand from foreign direct investment companies for specialist buildings.

With a forecast of 9 per cent annual growth on average, the report says construction can become a €20 billion industry by 2020. This would result in a contribution of around 10 per cent of GNP to the Irish economy.

“The construction industry is generally in recovery since 2013, but it is still grappling with nearly a decade of underinvestment and is playing catch-up with an economy that has expanded strongly in the meantime,” said Tom Parlon, director general of the CIF. “This has manifested itself in the acute housing supply shortage and infrastructure deficits across the country.

“This report sets out the required number of employees and apprentices to sustain desired activity levels as set down by Government policy. We will continue to work with the Government and its agencies such as SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards to deliver skilled employees and apprentices through innovative initiatives. Critical will be getting the message to young people and those who have emigrated that there are a significant number of quality careers across all the trades and functions in construction companies.

DKM director, Annette Hughes, who was author of the report stated: “The construction industry has been through an unprecedented period in its history – with the volume of construction output contracting by almost two-thirds between 2007 and 2012. It lost almost a quarter of firms in the industry in the six years to 2014. Although the industry has been in recovery since early 2013, it needs to catch up with an economy that has expanded strongly.

“In 2015, the value of turnover in the construction industry was around €13 billion, representing 6.2 per cent of economic activity (GNP ), down from almost one-quarter of the economy at the height of the last boom. There were 136,900 persons directly employed in Q2, 2016, 6.8 per cent of the total employed workforce.

“The severity of the construction recession saw the numbers working in construction decline by almost 180,000 by Q1, 2013, to just 35 per cent of the numbers employed at the peak (2007 ). Construction recorded the fastest rate of employment growth in the period since, gaining 39,200 jobs at a rate of around 1,000 per month.

“The industry is concerned that as activity ramps up quickly there will be a lag in the necessary skilled workers in the labour market and amongst those coming out of full-time education and training to meet the demand over the medium term.”

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