Ghost Estates / Ghost Careers

The Maynooth-based National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) recently issued a county-by-county breakdown of housing estates where more than half of the properties are empty or remain ‘under development’ and provided details behind its recent claim that more than 300,000 new homes are empty including those in 621 ‘ghost estates’ – this figure is more than double the official figure. Best estimates suggest it will take many years before these houses are finished and occupied – or dismantled and the land returned to other uses.

A parallel situation exists in some career sectors: it is estimated that up to 50 per cent of architects and architectural technicians in Ireland have lost their jobs in the past two years.  The dilemma facing unemployed architects in Ireland is so acute that the RIAI has organized a Migration Evening to provide architects with valuable advice on looking for work overseas [taking place on Monday, May 17 at 5:30PM until 7:00PM in the office of RIAI, 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2]. The Session is intended to give RIAI members, considering migrating abroad, some general tips – specifically on career prospects in Australia.

Even if the Irish economy returns to growth immediately it is highly unlikely that unemployment will begin to drop significantly for the next 18 – 24 months and when it does it will not reduce in sectors like the Architectural area for many years. Those who are now unemployed have limited options – they can leave Ireland and seek work abroad, they can change careers or they can wait until an upturn improves their prospects. These are bleak prospects for highly trained, motivated and skilled professionals who, a few years ago, felt entirely secure in their careers.

Bleak prospects lie ahead not just for those architects who are unemployed – but also for those graduating this year and over the next few years. They entered education with great confidence and now must come to terms with emigration if they are to find work in their chosen field.

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