Construction and engineering industry experiences recruitment bounce back following lockdown decline in employment

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  • July, August and September saw bounce back, with jobs activity returning to pre-Covid levels
  • September proved a particularly strong month for growth, with jobs activity 47% higher than pre-Covid levels
  • The construction and engineering industry in Ireland experienced 60% decline in job postings in the month of April
  • Jobs.ie GM: “The unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic still poses threats for the sector, leaving no room for complacency.”

The construction and engineering industry in Ireland has experienced a bounce back in recruitment following a 60% drop in job postings during the initial Covid-19 lockdown, according to e-recruitment platform Jobs.ie

The figures released today reveal that the construction and engineering sector in Ireland has experienced a bounce back in recruitment, in line with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions for the sector.

According to the data, the months of July, August and September all saw a significant increase in job posting levels for the industry, with activity returning to pre-Covid levels.

September proved a particularly strong month for recruitment, with activity during this month exceeding pre-Covid levels (February) by 43%. The number of jobs posted during this period also marks an increase of 26% job postings when compared to the same period last year (September 2019).

Impact of lockdown restrictions

During the height of the first lockdown in Ireland, the construction and engineering sector experienced a 60% decline in job postings in the month of April compared to February this year.

The number of jobs posted during this period marks a 74% decline in job postings for the sector when compared to the same period (April) last year, illustrating the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on the industry.

This decline in recruitment occurred as the sector was forced to shut down under lockdown restrictions earlier this year.

However, the Government’s decision to include construction as an essential service under new Level-5 guidelines, is expected to maintain positive recruitment levels within the sector in the coming months.

Commenting on the findings, Christopher Paye, General Manager at Jobs.ie said;

“After successive years of steady growth, fuelled ambitious commercial development and an urgent need for new housing, the construction sector has experienced a very challenging 2020. 

“According to the CSO, Q2 saw the biggest quarterly decline in construction activity in the State’s history, falling by approximately 45 per cent as a direct result of the temporary closure of building sites across the country. 

“This interruption to construction activity created unprecedented job losses but it also has serious implications for Ireland’s ongoing housing crisis. Regrettably, housing shortages haven’t gone away. However, in recent weeks, the Central Bank has revised down its expectations of housing completions this year from 26,000 to a more modest 16,000.

“Thankfully, our latest Jobs.ie data suggests the sector is beginning to gather momentum once again. Today’s data reveals that job postings for the third quarter of the year have returned to pre-Covid levels, showing early signs of strong recovery for the sector.

“To build on this growth, Government and industry must work collaboratively to ensure that sufficient supports and guidelines are in place to minimise disruption to construction activity and the livelihoods of those employed within the sector going forward. 

“The Government’s recent decision to allow the industry to remain operational under the current Level-5 guidelines was a significant development on this front. However, the unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic still poses threats for the sector, leaving no room for complacency. In order to ensure long-term viability of the industry, every effort must be made to maintain strong levels of employment and to keep construction and engineering professionals from drifting out of the sector.”

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