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Engineering Sector Booming in NI

05 Jan 2018

Conor O'Hagan

Brightwater’s Conor O'Hagan discusses market insights and industry trends for the NI Engineering sector in 2018.

I started on Brightwater NI’s engineering division almost two years ago and there has been many changes in the market since then. Unemployment levels are at the lowest level since 2008, currently sitting at 5.3%.  Manufacturing across all sectors continues to grow and the market is flourishing having grown almost three times faster than the rest of the UK resulting in employment within manufacturing accounting for 11% of employment in Northern Ireland.

While this growth is great, many companies are being challenged to identify candidates with the right skills, experience and attitude to meet their growing needs.  Over the past 2 years alone, the number of engineering jobs has increased exponentially. However the availability of skilled engineers in the market has not increased in correlation. 

2017 has seen substantial change across the engineering sectors compared to 2016.  The huge demand for high calibre candidates’ salaries has led to an all-time high peak in salaries e.g. Senior Design Engineers can now demand in excess of £50k. There has also been a notable increase in candidates being counter offered as companies do not want to lose their top performers which has resulted in engineers receiving higher salaries or being promoted to Senior Engineering Management roles.

I have observed a shift in what is important to engineers when considering making a move.  In 2016 location and career development were the dominant drivers to move rather than salary particularly for design and maintenance.  In 2018 candidates will have more choice of jobs and can interview with multiple companies to maximise their earning potential and the salary package has become a more important driver. 

I have worked in partnership with my engineering clients to adapt to these changes and address the challenges in the market.  It has been a challenging year sourcing and identifying the best candidates which previously would have been the biggest challenge but this year it has been controlling the process and offer management to fruition and the candidate starting in their new role. 

I predict further growth in 2018 with salaries increasing and further demand for outstanding engineers. 

My recruitment journey over the last two years has been an adventure to say the least and I thoroughly enjoy working closely with engineering clients and candidates on an ongoing basis and seeing the difference the right hire can make to both the person and the business. 

To all my current and future engineering and manufacturing clients and candidates I wish you a happy new year and look forward to working with you in 2018.

Brightwater's Conor O'Hagan - Engineering Consultant
For information about current and future opportunities available within Engineering which may be of interest to you, contact me on 028 9032 5325 or email [email protected]