Signed Article: Where are Ireland’s Construction Workers?

10 April 2018 Press Release


The Central Bank of Ireland has published a signed article from the second Quarterly Bulletin of 2018, due to be published on 12 April 2018.

The article, 'Where are Ireland’s Construction Workers?' by Thomas Conefrey and Tara McIndoe-Calder, considers the decline in construction sector employment in Ireland during the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008. One in every two workers who lost their jobs in Ireland between 2007 and 2012 had previously been employed in construction. However, while there has been a strong recovery in employment in other sectors, the numbers in construction employment as at Q1 2017 was 46% lower than in 2007, although the 2007 level of construction employment should not be considered sustainable.

The article finds:

  • The construction sector has regained less than one-third of the jobs lost during the crisis
  • However, the research finds no evidence of the existence of a large number of unemployed former construction workers in 2017, suggesting that a large proportion of construction workers who lost their jobs during the crash are likely to have emigrated
  • The average age of employed construction workers has risen significantly from 35.6 years in 2007 to 42.3 in 2017. Construction workers in 2017 are also more likely to be Irish nationals and have higher levels of educational attainment
  • As construction output picks up, the sector is likely to require a significant inflow of labour from abroad to fill vacancies created by this renewed demand.


The views expressed in these articles are not necessarily those held by the Central Bank of Ireland.