Padraic Halpin and Simon Jessop
Ireland’s allure as a post-Brexit base for global financial firms has driven wages for some roles considerably higher with some positions offering 15% more than a year ago.
Risk and compliance staff are particularly sought after. Expertise in data science and newer technologies such as payment platforms is also in demand.
And upwards pressure on wages could continue, with the Central Bank expected to approve more firms’ expansion plans in the coming months.
While the higher pay is good news for workers, it can bring concerns for others. International financial firms only account for 2% of Irish jobs but have contributed to a sharp fall in the overall jobless rate. The Central Bank said last week the economy could overheat if capacity constraints emerge in the labour market.
“Financial services is one of the areas seeing a definite spike in recruitment,” said Gerard Murnaghan, vice president at job search site Indeed. Its first-quarter postings were up 15% year-on-year.
Although Ireland is widely considered the most vulnerable among EU members to any change in trade after Brexit, the financial services firms want to keep close access to clients after the UK leaves the EU next year.
Barclays, Legal & General Investment Management and Standard Life Aberdeen are among companies to pick Ireland as a post-Brexit base against stiff competition from rival centres including Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris.
Robert MacGiolla Phadraig, Sigmar Recruitment’s chief commercial officer, said headhunted personnel were securing increases of 10% to 15%, with front-office staff able to command the highest salary jumps.
Two thirds of employers surveyed by Sigmar and accounting firm EY earlier this year said they expected to give staff a pay rise to stop poaching by rivals, a practice already accounting for one in four hires.
Ireland’s economy has grown faster than any other in the European Union for the last four years and is forecast to expand by 5.6% in 2018 against 2.1% for the region.
The Central Bank estimates that if the UK leaves the EU without a formal divorce agreement in March, it would shave 3.2% off economic growth over 10 years, and result in the creation of around 40,000 fewer jobs.