Most engineers here are anticipating their bottom lines to grow over the next year - despite various economic headwinds including Brexit and the global trade wars.

Ahead of its annual excellence awards, Engineers Ireland has published a survey of its leading members - with 69% of them expecting finances to improve in 2020. 

However the country is struggling to keep up with that level of growth, with almost half of respondants looking abroad for new workers.

Two thirds of engineering employers and leaders surveyed believe the shortage of experienced and appropriately skilled engineers is potentially a major barrier to growth, with 48% looking at recruiting talent from abroad to undertake future projects. 

This year, almost 37% of Engineers Ireland's new members came from outside of Ireland and the UK, coming from countries such as Brazil, South Africa and India. This compares to just 20% of members in 2016. 

Engineers Ireland's Director General Caroline Spillane said that despite the constant Brexit turmoil, lingering economic uncertainty and very complicated international trade conditions, it was seeing positive sentiment in the Irish engineering sector and a robust outlook in terms of growth opportunities for 2020.

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But she said that the shortage of experienced and appropriately skilled engineers continues to be an issue for many companies.

Ms Spillane said it is incumbent on the engineering sector, government and the education system to work together and collectively better develop the pipeline of engineers.