Ireland’s housing crisis has increased the demand for skilled tradespeople

Irish construction workers returning to Ireland after living and working abroad have cited family as the main issue for returning home in a recent survey.

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In a survey commissioned by Ireland’s Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), 65 percent of companies who have hired Irish workers returning to Ireland said that family was the main reason the diaspora returned home to Ireland.

24 percent of respondents said job opportunities were the main reason they returned to Ireland, and a stark zero percent said salary was the reason.

The survey also found that 37 percent of Irish companies have hired workers returning home to Ireland after living abroad. 19 percent of companies who have hired returning workers targeted the Irish diaspora specifically.

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Dermot Carey, CIF Director of Safety and Training said: “We should be building bridges, not walls, for the construction diaspora to return; the industry needs their skills and expertise to deliver housing and infrastructure.”

The survey found that 86 percent of Irish construction companies are experiencing issues due to an inadequate supply of qualified tradespeople.

“We are currently facing a housing crisis of large proportions," Carey said, "but in order to build more homes at the speed that is needed, we first must fill the skills gap and have more qualified construction workers on hand to build these homes.”

“We would like to see that any Irish person currently living abroad with construction skills who wishes to return home, is facilitated to do so and that this process is as easy and efficient as possible for them and their families.”

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Tom Parlon, CIF Director General, said: “Returning diaspora can face certain challenges when returning to work in Ireland. When construction companies were recently surveyed about the difficulties faced when hiring diaspora, a whopping 50% said that there were no challenges at all.”

“This is very good news, but we cannot ignore the 19% of companies who said waiting time until the worker could start was an issue. We also cannot ignore that a further 19% stated a difference in work attitude and culture was a challenge, and that 13% felt paperwork and red tape posed huge barriers.”

Carey added that “the diaspora is a short-term solution,” and that while the CIF wants to see Irish workers returning to Ireland, there should also be a focus on keeping “more and more new people coming on board every year to tackle the skills shortages we currently face.”

Are you an Irish person who is considering returning to Ireland to work? Share your experience in the comments