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Brightwater’s Engineering Division

22 Jun 2020

Cathal O Donnell, Regional Director with Brightwater Recruitment discusses Brightwater's Engineering division.

Brightwater’s Engineering division operates across 3 different sectors

  • Engineering
  • Supply Chain & Logistics
  • Science & Pharmaceutical

Within Engineering, we focus on 2 main areas – Manufacturing & the Built Environment

Within Supply Chain & Logistics, we work with large manufacturing facilities and international industrial companies.

Within Science & Pharmaceutical, we recruit for pharmaceutical and the medical devices sectors.

Introducing Cathal O Donnell

Cathal’s own specialism is recruiting for the temporary and contract market across the engineering sector. If roles required a limited company contract or a PAYE contract for engineering professionals, He has over 20 years’ recruitment experience for clients across Ireland, UK, Middle East and Australasia. His own background is in engineering so he focuses on the recruitment of engineering related roles for both the manufacturing and built environment.

What’s the engineering market like in Ireland?

The engineering market in Ireland has seen a huge amount of growth across all disciplines:

The 2 main areas that Brightwater’s Engineering team focuses on are:

  • Manufacturing & Operations
  • Built Environment

Our Manufacturing & Operations area is mainly active across pharmaceutical, medical devices and the food sector, all of which have grown hugely in Ireland in the last few years and has kept our economy going in the right direction.

The Built Environment has also seen considerable growth having recovered from the down-turn when the sector was decimated. We are seeing a lot more roles emerge that are related to both residential and commercial development. Overall engineering is a really positive market right now.

What are the Niche Roles in Engineering?

We’re seeing two main areas of growth for niche roles.

In manufacturing and facilities, a key growth area is maintenance. As a result there has been a large increase in requirements for mechanical and electrical engineers.

In the built environment, the contracting market in particular has seen a dramatic growth surge. The demand is high for the following roles:

  • Site engineers
  • Site Managers
  • Project Managers
  • Construction Managers
  • Quantity Surveyors

These roles can be difficult to source for as the supply was radically affected by the downturn in 2009 where our talent was lost to Australia, Canada and the Middle East. We do have a shortage of talent as the supply doesn’t fit the growing demand.

What are the soft skills required for engineers?

There are 3 main soft skills that employers consistently ask Brightwater to look out for in engineering professionals:

  1. Ability to solve problems

    Engineering is essentially a problem solving industry. Engineers are seen as people who can solve problems and create things. Our clients are constantly asking us for people who have the ability and wherewithal to solve problems. Analytical, problem-solving are key soft skills.

  2. Ability to work in a team

    Engineering, particularly in large sites, is very much a collaborative affair and people need to be able to work smoothly within a team, have their own voices heard but still understand another point of view. Engineering professionals need to be able to listen to others, take in requirements from multiple teams and work collaboratively to a mutually beneficial outcome.

  3. Self-belief

This is important as clients want to hire people who believe in their own skills and knowledge.

What are the main qualifications within engineering?

This primarily starts at secondary education level. The interest in engineering and in particular STEM subjects needs to start early. Third level education in Ireland  offers a degree in every discipline of engineering:

  • Civil
  • Structural
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical

Depending on your chosen area of focus, it is very easy to identify a number of courses and degrees available within engineering. Masters level courses are also available.

At the very minimum, employers do expect a degree level of qualification in your chosen discipline across engineering.

What is the “brain-drain” and how has it affected engineering talent in Ireland?

During the recession of 2009 – 2011, the engineering sector in Ireland was drastically hit. As a result, engineering talent within Ireland suffered and created two main areas of concern for the jobs market within engineering:

  • Brain-drain: Many engineers were forced to emigrate at this time to Canada, Australia and the Middle East and that has now created a shortage of talent at the senior qualified level.
  • Shortage of talent coming through: During the recession, many students chose not to study engineering in college and that has created a shortage of talent coming through from the educational sector.

Thankfully, the economy has recovered and we are now seeing a rise of places on engineering courses and an interest in engineering has been revived as career opportunities have grown in this area. Ireland has also developed a reputation as a place to return to in terms of investment and opportunity. There have been plenty of campaigns to draw our lost generation back to Ireland.


Is there a gender bias in Engineering as a career?

 There is a perception that engineering is very much a male dominated environment and to some extent that is true. Interest in engineering and STEM subjects needs to be developed at secondary education level and there has not been enough done to attract girls and women into the industry. Thankfully there has been some terrific work done, particularly in the last 18 months to 3 years by universities and employers to balance out the genders within engineering.

Employers in particular, mindful of their own diversity balance, have been going into secondary schools to promote STEM subjects to young girls and to encourage them to think about a career in engineering. Our engineering division is constantly asked for gender diversity in shortlisting but the problem is that there are not enough women either taking up STEM subjects at secondary and 3rd level or not qualifying. There is still some considerable work to be done in this field but thankfully we are heading in the right direction. There are some fantastic career paths and opportunities within engineering and this needs to be highlighted to all.

If you need career advice, help in preparing your cv or just a chat about what options are available to you now and in the future don't hesitate to contact us on [email protected] or 01 662 1000.