State should 'aim higher' with new finance jobs plan

Paschal Donohoe.

The Government's new plan to boost direct employment in the international financial services sector by nearly 14% over the next six years is not ambitious enough, according to a leading recruiter.

Hays Ireland managing director Mike McDonagh welcomed the 'Ireland for Finance' strategy as "a positive new vision for the Irish banking and finance sector", but said the country "can aim higher" and questioned if the Government was being ambitious enough with its plan.

Currently, there are 44,000 people directly employed in the international financial services sector. The Government wants to increase that number to 50,000 by 2025.

"Ireland has, within its grasp, the opportunity to be a world leader by 2025 as a global location for financial services and as a source of technological and innovation-led solutions," said Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at the launch of the report.

Mr McDonagh said the rise of the financial technology, fintech, sector here, the general improvement in the Irish economy, Ireland's growing reputation as an international centre for fund administration, and Dublin being one of the EU cities of choice for Brexit-related relocations suggest the Government is being too cautious with its targets.

"All these factors tell a tale of momentum and growth and point to an opportunity to grow the industry beyond the 50,000 professionals target. To capitalise on this opportunity, it is essential that Ireland continues to be a friend to business by investing and growing its talent pool and delivering a consistent pipeline of talent to fill these roles," he said.

"The Irish economy is in good health, and banking and finance has played a central role in fuelling this return to growth," he said.

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