Key points for selected business and financial occupations
- In 2015, approximately 170,000 persons were employed in the selected business and financial occupations, representing 8.6% of Ireland’s workforce.
- Almost 60% of overall employment was concentrated in two sectors: financial, insurance and real estate activities (35%), and professional, scientific and technical activities (23%).
- Almost one third of overall employment was at administrative level (mostly bookkeepers, payroll managers and wages clerks; bank and post office clerks); an additional one third was at professional level (mostly accountants and tax experts), while one quarter was at associate professional level and the remainder was at managerial level.
- Between 2014 and 2015, overall employment expanded by 5% (a net 8,000 additional jobs were created);
- The largest employment increases were observed for other business associate professionals; finance & investment analysts and financial institution managers & directors.
- Over 80% of persons employed in business and financial occupations were aged 25-54; with one quarter employed aged 55 or older, financial accounting technicians had the most mature workforce.
- Over 90% of those employed at professional level and 85% at associate professional level were third level graduates; the share was 55% for those employed in administrative occupations
- Three quarters of those employed in financial administrative occupations and as financial accounting technicians and HR managers were female – the highest share of females among the selected occupations; those employed in the former two occupations had the highest propensity to work part-time.
- In quarter 4 2015, the overall unemployment rate (15-74 year olds) for the selected occupations (3.3%) was below the national rate (8.7%).
Financial and business skills are needed by almost all sectors of the economy, although many are employed directly in the financial and professional and scientific activities sectors.
In addition, the Government’s Strategy for the International Financial Services sector (IFS 2020) is expected to lead to further job creation in the IFS sector.
As Ireland continues to compete globally as a location for IFS, the skills required to develop business models and products will be shaped by technological innovation, changing regulatory environments, and the increasingly international nature of business. Business skills will be required, but will also need to be enhanced and complemented with other skills sets including IT, data analytics and business intelligence skills as well as knowledge of the relevant compliance and regulatory environments for specific industries.
Expansion demand for financial skills is expected to remain strong. This is illustrated in recent job announcements for these skills in the financial and accounting services sector (e.g. Northern Trust, Credit Suisse, Pepper Ireland, EY, Deloitte, Fidelity Insurance, Davy Stockbrokers, Mazars, and Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon). In addition, job announcements in other sectors also included roles for financial and business skills, including software development (e.g. Microsoft, Sage, and VMWare) and industry (e.g. Biomarin Manufacturing, Horizon Pharma, and GlaxoSmithKline).
Despite significant education and training output, shortages in the areas of business and finance continue to exist. There were 513 new employment permits issued to non-EEA nationals for work in financial occupations (as managers, professionals and technicians) in 2015.
Shortages have been identified in the following areas:
- Accounting: accountants and tax analysts with experience (5 years+) in niche areas (e.g. cost, fixed assets, solvency, international and/or manufacturing settings, languages (German & Nordic))
- Compliance & risk: experienced (5 years+) regulatory affairs and insurance compliance professionals; auditors
- FinTech: business and financial professionals with skills in specific software packages and experience (inc. international)
- Business intelligence & data analytics: experienced (5 years+) statisticians; entry level and experienced revenue managers (specific sectors, e.g. hospitality); financial systems analysts; economists and data scientists (big data, data visualisations and quantitative modelling)
- Financial management/financial analysis: trustee managers; deposit managers; payroll managers
- HR managers and recruitment specialists
- Fund accounting/fund administration: mostly entry level or with some experience ( (<5 years), particularly in IFS sub-sectors (e.g. international payments, funds, asset management, aircraft leasing)
- Multilingual financial clerks: credit controllers; accounts payable/receivable; payroll specialists; fund accounting and transfer pricing specialists.
Overall, the demand at professional and managerial level is strongest for those with a combination of varied technical skills, business skills and industry experience, although there is some evidence that a shortage of newly qualified and part-qualified accountants is beginning to emerge. While the IFS Strategy seeks to develop the industry outside of Dublin (and is reflected in the Regional Action Plans for Jobs), there is evidence that geographical mobility of skilled candidates is proving difficult in some instances.
The extent to which the demand for skills will change in light of the forthcoming Brexit is, as yet, unclear.
Exporting businesses may be negatively affected in terms of access to the UK market for their goods; at the same time, however, Dublin (along with other EU capitals, such as Paris) may benefit as some international companies relocate their operations from London to ensure access to EU markets. Should such relocations occur, the demand for financial and accounting skills, especially for EU and international transactions, may be even greater.