Hays Ireland jobs and employment blog


How to stay competitive in today's construction and property hiring landscape

By Ferdia White, Senior Manager of Hays Construction & Property team

The construction and property sector in Ireland has experienced considerable growth over the last year, with the country’s top firms recording an increase in turnover of 12%, according to our latest Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 report.

Firms like John Sisk & Son, Mercury Engineering and BAM are leading the way, with turnovers well into the hundreds of millions, a trend which is expected to continue over the coming year.

The rise in construction has been most obvious in Leinster, but most cities across Ireland have seen an increase in activity.

As a result, recruitment is high on the agenda for professionals across the industry – from architects and civil and structural design engineers to site engineers and project managers. And growing confidence means that many firms are looking to recruit full-time permanent employees, rather than short-term and contract staff.

Skills shortages continue to loom

However, ongoing skills shortages have resulted in a notable rise in salaries, in most sectors and in most areas of the country. The average salary increase last year across construction and property was 3.1%, with some salaries increasing by as much as 10%, including for intermediate M&E design engineers and architects.

While the outlook for the sector is looking positive following Ireland’s economic recovery, there are still one or two challenges for the year ahead. Low margins are having a negative effect on relationships and payments within the extensive construction supply chain. Furthermore, the demise of big firms in the UK in 2018 highlighted the precarious nature of the industry supply chain, leading to a number of Irish builders going into liquidation.

But there is far more good news than bad. So with activity forecasts looking optimistic, a competitive market and a shortage of candidates available, firms need to take a good look at their employee offering, in order to attract new employees and convince existing talent to stay.

In a competitive market, how can construction and property firms recruit and retain the best staff?

  • Benchmark your salaries: it goes without saying that with increases in pay across the sector and the country, employers must take care not to get left behind the competition. If your salaries aren’t competitive and benchmarked, candidates and existing employees know that they can find the pay they’re looking for elsewhere.
  • Offer long-term, clear career pathways: with the huge growth in the construction market, firms are employing far fewer short-term staff. The time is right for professionals looking for a long-term career within a firm, particularly if there is a clear career development path laid out.
  • Consider your benefits offering: organisations are becoming more creative with the benefits offered to staff to stop them from moving elsewhere. Whether it’s health insurance, pensions or an increase in annual leave, professionals are being offered more and will expect more from their employers.

To discover more insights about the construction insert specialism market, and the prospects for the next year for construction and property as a whole, request your copy of the latest Hays salary guide here.

For more information or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.

About this author

Ferdia joined Hays in 2011. With over 6 years' experience, he currently manages the Construction & Property team in Dublin. Ferdia recruits within the Building Services sector in Leinster.


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