Engineers say Brexit has slowed down business - but they won't be sacking staff

However, a quarter have changed their plans for hiring as a result of Brexit.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

ALMOST A THIRD of engineers in Ireland and the UK say their business has already been impacted by Brexit, according to a new survey.

A poll of 3,000 Engineers Ireland members found that while most are experiencing a slowdown in business, only one in ten has plans to fire staff, contractors or suppliers as a result.

However, a quarter said they have changed their plans for hiring or investment as the sector grapples with the economic fallout of the 23 June referendum.

Engineers Ireland director general Caroline Spillane said: “The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union colours every aspect of Ireland’s economic future, and the associated uncertainty and unease is already affecting the business activity of our members across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”

“Nonetheless, this survey shows that the engineering sector is robust and resourceful, with organisations already adapting to the new Brexit business reality,” she added.

Infrastructure projects

Two-in-five said they were proactively changing their business strategy and most agreed that the full impact of Brexit will not be felt for a number of years.

Almost 40% said they had paused or unfavorably altered commercial deals in anticipation of the fallout.

As well as calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to make a contingency plan for Ireland, Spillane called on the government to ensure projects like the Dublin to Derry road upgrade were not delayed.

Earlier this year, Spillane, along with the heads of the Association of Consulting Engineers Ireland and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, warned there will be a lack of engineering and surveying graduates to meet demand in the construction sector in the coming years.

Spillane said only 38 civil engineers will graduate in Ireland in 2017 and urged more women to pursue engineering in order to deal with the shortage.