Another year beckons for strong job creation and growth

Aldagh McDonogh 22.01.2018

Morgan McKinley 2018 Irish Salary and Benefits Guide

22 January 2018: The Morgan McKinley 2018 Irish Salary Guide - Ireland’s most comprehensive analysis of pay across a range of professions and sectors, anticipates that salary increases this year are likely to be in the region of 3% on average, rising to a 10 -15% increase for niche skills in demand. The annual salary guide published today also provides an average outline of anticipated remuneration by sector.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics and Data Analytics will continue to be key drivers of business transformation in 2018. The areas tipped to expand further in Ireland over the next year include advanced process engineering and automation, autonomous drive technology development/analytics, cybersecurity, data analytics, data governance and digital transformation in insurance and financial services, R&D scientists and engineers accompanied by growth in business management and administration functions across most professional sectors.

Chief Operations Officer with Morgan McKinley, Karen O’Flaherty said:

“2017 was a strong year for job growth in the professional recruitment market with our two main enterprise development agencies IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland announcing record end of year numbers with close to 40,000 new jobs created declared. The forecast for 2018 remains positive with the number of permanent jobs predicted to increase.

“Over the last year we have seen a weighted overall average movement from the mid to the higher point of the same salary bands across a number of sectors including Technology, Life Sciences and Engineering. However, many companies having complete market benchmarking assessments in the prior year, have recognised that competitive and holistic benefits packages are now key in the pursuit of top talent and have reviewed and restructured their offerings as a result.

“There remains significant geopolitical risks for Ireland going into 2018 including Brexit, the continuing lack of devolution in  Northern Ireland, the future direction and stability of the EU and uncertainty around the future direction of US economic and foreign policy. Each of these come with risks and opportunities. Ireland must be vigilant to remain cost competitive and attractive as a location to live work and do business. Ireland must also ensure continued strong alliances within the EU and capitalise on new trading prospects including the CETA trade agreement between the EU and Canada.

“While Brexit represents a significant challenge for Ireland, the opportunity has arisen to attract the highly skilled EU workforce currently residing in uncertainty in the UK, while also seeking to attract back our own diaspora from London and the larger cities of the UK, as well as the internationally based talent who would previously have chosen the UK as a default location. Evidence has suggested that this has already begun to take shape. The return of Irish emigrants is a welcome feature of the market and this must be encouraged as their international experience is highly sought after.

“We must not become complacent about our track record of success in winning FDI investments. The need to address infrastructure needs and contain inflation while continuing to invest in education should be high on our political policy and business agenda.

“Ireland’s youngest workforce in the EU is capable, highly adaptable, educated and committed to achievement. This will all serve to ensure that we continue to deliver great career opportunities for our world beating talent to drive ongoing high value FDI investments into Ireland.” 

Sector highlights

Accounting & Finance

  • The Accounting and Finance market has remained buoyant throughout 2017. The demand for newly qualified accountants has shown no sign of abating going into 2018 with strong opportunities across industry, Financial Services and Practice.
  • In 2017 demand was strong across all accounting disciplines with technical reporting skills continually being sought after.
  • In 2018 we see the most sought after positions for qualified accountants including Project Accountants, Shared Service Centre Accountants with expertise in Record to Report and Order to Cash, Payroll Accountants/Analysts with EMEA experience and fluent language skills, as well as Group and Corporate Accountants.
  • A large number of companies improved their additional benefits in 2017 and we expect to see the impact of this in 2018.


Banking & Stockbroking

  • In Retail Banking, there has been an increase in mobile and digital banking positions.
  • The market for qualified professionals with the APA or QFA qualifications has been very competitive with salaries increasing slightly in this area.
  • We have seen a notable increase in new lending credit and mortgage positions in line with the country's economic uplift.  We anticipate this positive rise to continue into 2018. 
  • Another prominent area which has major implications for shaping Ireland’s financial services employment market is the rise of Fintech opportunities with the continued convergence of finance and technology expected to have further effects on job design and will likely be a priority for Irish banks in 2018.



  • The high demand for Compliance professionals is not a new development on the market but due to more complex regulations being introduced by the European Central Bank (ECB) and Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) to the financial services market; as well as Brexit influencing the decision of a number of UK headquartered banks to expand or move this function here, the requirement for such skills has continued to grow.
  • Cross border experience is very desirable to those Financial Services companies relocating their European HQ to Ireland.
  • New roles are being created in this space as a result of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These roles include Data Protection Officers (DPOs), GDPR Compliance Managers and Project Managers to name but a few.



  • The Engineering industry in Ireland continues to see significant growth with a recent Engineers Ireland survey revealing 82% of Irish employers expect to hire in 2018.
  • Industries such as Medical Devices, Pharma, Food, Technology and construction are at the forefront of this growth.
  • Certain Engineers looking to make a career move in 2018 can expect an increase of between 5-10% on their base salary.
  • R&D and Industrial Robotics are two key growth areas for the coming year with the robotics side being driven by the increased investment in automation across a number of industries.
  • There has been a strong emphasis in hiring female engineers to address the gender imbalance across the sector with employers supporting STEM programmes aimed at primary and secondary school and investing in the long term.


Financial Services & Treasury

  • Accountants who have an audit background accompanied by extensive accounts preparation experience are continuously proving to be a hot commodity on the market.
  • Strong exposure to regulatory reporting is also required across financial services organisations, as a result of the deadlines that have been put in place by the ECB and CBI.
  • The reach and opportunity for qualified accountant beyond the core finance function has increased significantly in recent years with a greater emphasis on retraining into other areas of the complimentary business areas such as of Risk, Compliance, Project and Change Management and Data Analytics. 



  • In 2017 there was a wealth of new opportunities for the tech community from a range of high investment new entrants to the marketing across e-commerce, AI, IOT, block-chain and advanced analytics.
  • The most in demand technology skills going into 2018 are Java, Python, .NET, C++ and PHP
  • Opportunities for Data Scientists, Data Miners, Data Modellers, Big Data Solutions Engineer and Data Analysts will continue to be in very high demand for 2018
  • With 80,000 tech professionals currently working in Ireland and 8,000+ jobs forecast to open in the year ahead (Tech Ireland), the growth in tech opportunities shows no signs of slowing down
  • Ireland’s own indigenous tech sector has continued on a strong growth curve and is providing an alternative choice to the Multinational for the tech professional.



  • The legal recruitment market in Ireland was buoyant throughout 2017. Demand was strong in both the industry and practice sectors with professionals being sought after at almost all levels.
  • This is due to organisations bringing legal positions inhouse, increased regulation in areas such as privacy, financial instruments and the movement of legal positions to Ireland as a consequence of Brexit and Foreign Direct Investment.
  • Solicitors with commercial contracts experience have become a hot commodity for technology and pharmaceutical companies.
  • In financial services the most sought after candidates are those with extensive funds and aircraft leasing experience.
  • Sentiment in the legal market remains positive and demand will remain strong throughout 2018, salaries will also follow suit with an upward trajectory.
  • Organisations that are able to differentiate their offering from a benefits, career development and flexibility perspective will also continue to win in this highly competitive landscape.



  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is expected to set a new standard for consumer rights regarding their data, but companies will be challenged as they put systems and processes in place to comply.
  • Indigenous enterprises and SMEs are becoming increasingly aware of the necessity to upskill and/or hire into this area.
  • In view of the scarcity of data process management skills in the market many companies are promoting or transferring current employees into roles internally as they are more likely to have an awareness of data processing points within the business.
  • An estimated EU current shortfall of 20,000 professionals is suggested.


Life sciences

  • The Life Science market in Ireland is booming at the moment. The sector includes medical devices, pharma and bio-pharmaceutical and is estimated to be worth more than €45 billion annually.
  • 2017 has seen several companies expanding their portfolio of products; be it through product transfers to Ireland or within Ireland, building new plants on existing green field sites or investing through mergers & acquisitions.
  • Ireland has now established itself as a real centre of excellence within this space. This has translated into the number and profile of candidates willing to relocate from various European countries to Ireland to work with some of the world’s leadings brands in the Life Sciences space.
  • In 2018, salaries are expected to remain in line with the average market increase of 3-4%.


Supply chain

  • The sector continues to go from strength to strength. Through professional and educational recognition it is fast becoming one of Ireland’s fastest growing sectors.
  • The industry in Ireland is reaping the benefits of Brexit with a number of companies with Supply Chain and Procurement functions now choosing Ireland as their preferred European location to centralise this function.
  • Supply Chain salaries continue to be sensitive to market demands with a projected 3–5% increase for 2018, mainly due to the reduced supply of certain skillsets.



  • Sentiment in the taxation market remains buoyant  and demand was strong in both the industry and practice sectors with experience across all areas of tax being sought after at almost all levels.
  • This demand has continued across the board, with organisations bringing tax positions in-house, increasing dependency on advisory services from the accounting firms and also a steady flow of international companies looking to set up a base in Ireland.
  • Continuous inward investment from multinational organisations has meant that the need for international corporate taxation experience, along with transfer pricing professionals, has remained strong.
  • In practice, experience in indirect tax, employment tax, corporate tax and transfer pricing are most sought after by employers.




Further press information:

Sarah Lawlor, MKC Communications, (01) 7038608/ 086 0227264

Notes to editors:

Survey methodology

Morgan McKinley compiled this guide with the support of data gathered by their Inward Investment team from a sample of more than 40,000 professionals placed in 2017 in Ireland. Additionally trends, market intelligence and market sentiment were obtained from a large cross section of employers. This research, combined with the publication of our monthly employment monitor, has allowed us to predict current and future skills and talent requirements and to obtain benchmarking analysis for professionals seeking new roles and hiring companies alike. Evidence points to a stronger employment market in 2018 across a wide range of industries, sectors and locations in both the permanent and contract recruitment market.

About Morgan McKinley

Irish owned Morgan McKinley is a global professional recruitment consultancy connecting specialist talent with leading employers across multiple industries and disciplines.

With offices across Ireland, the UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia, its specialist professional recruitment expertise spans a wide range of divisions including but not limited to Accountancy & Finance, Financial Services, IT,  Supply Chain, Science, Engineering, Multilingual, Sales and Marketing, HR , Customer Service, Office Support and Managed Services.

Morgan McKinley is a preferred supplier to many of the major employers and thousands of smaller local firms in its specialist sectors.

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