Engineering Sector Calls for Repatriation Tax Breaks

Over the last few weeks we have been conducting a survey of over 2000 engineers, the aim of which was to capture the the opinion and industry viewpoint on actions needed by the incoming Government to support the engineering sector. The survey, in which engineers predict that Fine Gael, Labour and independents will form the next government, found that the introduction of repatriation tax breaks is the most important initiative to help attract highly qualified and skilled engineers back to Ireland.

The comprehensive survey found that just four out of ten participants feel that the current Government supports the sector. The root of this issue stems back to the education of future engineers in Ireland. At the moment, there is a significant shortfall in qualified engineers despite an increase in third-level Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education students. Up to 66% of the engineers surveyed feel that there is a serious shortage of qualified and skilled engineers in Ireland. To rectify this issue, the next Government needs to invest more strategically to help develop and enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

The survey found that the next Government needs to provide support in the following areas:
• Greater emphasis on science and engineering at primary and secondary level
• Create more up-skilling opportunities through publicly funded courses
• Increased investment in the government’s capital investment programme
• Increased incentives for Research & Development
• Maintenance of the current corporation tax rate

The survey also highlighted that foreign direct investment is extremely important for the development and growth of the sector, according to 42% of engineers. In relation to gender balance, 62% feel that there is a shortage of women engineers in the life sciences sector.

Robert Grealis, CEO, Team Horizon, said: “The next Government needs to invest significantly in STEM at both primary and secondary school levels to empower and drive growth in the economy and the engineering sector. In Ireland today, college applications for level eight engineering and technology courses have increased to by over 1,000 in the last year but, with an estimated 2,000 plus engineering vacancies, it is clear that higher education programmes are not producing the graduate pool to meet current demand. The future growth of Ireland’s economy, in particular the pharma and bio-pharma industry, is dependent on investment in the engineering sector. The current level of innovation and investment in STEM cannot support the expansion plans of the industry, which plans to invest approximately €700m in Ireland in 2016.”