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Industry crash drives Irish architects to seek work in UK

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Almost a third of Ireland’s architects and engineers have left the country following the collapse of its construction industry, with many seeking work in the UK

A survey by recruitment consultant Hays said 21 per cent of architects and engineers who left Ireland in the last three years moved to the UK, with another 15 per cent relocating to Australia and New Zealand.

Worryingly, the report also found that a further 72 per cent plan to leave the country by 2013 if the industry has not improved.

The growing trend has been felt by recruitment agencies in London with Sean Crosbie of Detail Jobs witnessing a ‘measurable increase’ in applicants from Ireland over the last 18 months.

HKR Architects has moved ‘half a dozen’ of its senior staff from its Dublin base to its London office.

The exodus was described as ‘a terrible loss’ by Kathryn Meghen, assistant director of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). ‘We’re losing a huge amount of skill and expertise built up over the years,’ she said. ‘We should be exporting architecture, not architects.’

 A recent RIAI survey put unemployment in the Irish architecture profession at 20 per cent, ‘with many more under-employed’. Meghen agreed that the situation is bleak, but shared her hopes that a government infrastructure programme will help ease the crisis.

Dublin-born Angela Brady, director of London-based practice Brady Mallalieu Architects and a candidate for the RIBA presidency, warned that current employment opportunities in the UK are very limited. She cautioned against people travelling to the UK with high expectations.

Brady said job seekers should do their research before leaving Ireland and use contacts to check out employment prospects in advance. ‘Cold-calling is not a recommended approach in the present circumstances,’ she added.


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