Nearly two thirds of construction companies here are finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers, according to a survey of over 300 firms here conducted by Core Research on behalf of software firm, Autodesk.

They put the difficulty down to a lack of career options and negative perceptions about working in the industry, as well as what many believe to be an exodus of young talent from the country.

Two in five firms say they are actively recruiting.

Despite the recruitment challenges, the mood of the industry is seen as mainly positive for this year.

38% of companies surveyed expect revenue to increase with just one in ten expecting to see a decrease.

However, labour shortage and access to talent are expected to impact Ireland's ability to achieve its housing ambitions.

Inflation challenge

85% of companies surveyed identified the rising cost of materials and the scale of demand as another defining challenge for the Irish construction industry.

Up to four in five builders are stalling one-off projects as a result, the report found.

Present market conditions - combined with the labour shortages - have cast some doubts about the achievability of Government's Housing for All and retrofitting targets and timelines, the study concludes.

Around 80% of professionals in the sector are concerned about the ability to meet the housing policy target of 33,000 homes built per year by 2030.

Only 20% of professionals think the housing targets can be reached with the current workforce, while seven in ten believe the industry will need a bigger workforce to meet the ambitions.

Some 54% pointed to a lack of people with the necessary skills and expertise required to meet the targets of the National Retrofit Plan.

The report sets out recommendations to address labour shortages and strengthen the talent pipeline through initiatives to attract new recruits, upskill workers and give employees the digital tools that can improve productivity.

It proposes the launch of a national campaign to promote the value of careers in construction.

A part of this initiative would involve creating links with schools and colleges to ensure students are gaining the skills valued by companies, the study concludes.

"This report reveals the high availability of construction jobs in the marketplace but exposes the lack of access to a skilled workforce and the limitations that shortage is putting on the future potential of the construction industry," Brian Roche, Construction Sales Lead at Autodesk Ireland said.

"If the sector adapts a long-term strategy through the launch of a national campaign to promote the value of a career in construction, it can develop a consistent talent stream that attracts new recruits and graduates, empowering a skilled workforce with all the know-how coupled with the most up-to-date digital tools to improve productivity and overall job satisfaction," he concluded.