Key points for selected business and financial occupations
- In 2014, there were approximately 162,000 persons employed in the selected business and financial occupations, representing 8.5% of Ireland’s workforce (Figure 9.4.1)
- Approximately half of overall employment was concentrated in financial, insurance and real estate activities (36%) and legal and accounting activities (15%)
- One third of overall employment was at administrative level (mostly bookkeepers, payroll managers and wages clerks; bank and post office clerks); one third was at professional level (mostly accountants and tax experts); one quarter was at associate professional level and the remainder was at managerial level
- The largest number of persons were employed in financial administrative occupations (54,000) and accounting and taxation (approximately 39,000) ─ accounting for one third and one quarter of overall employment respectively
- Between 2009 and 2014, overall employment in business and financial occupations decreased very modestly, by 0.3% on average annually; however, over the period, employment growth varied by occupation; the strongest growth (in relative terms) was recorded for management consultants, business analysts & project managers, and other business associate professionals (each at 12% on average annually), and financial accounts managers (9.8% on average annually); in contrast, the strongest rate of decline was recorded for brokers and insurance underwriters (6.8% on average annually) and financial institution managers & directors, and financial administrative occupations (jointly at 4.2% on average annually); the largest absolute decline was recorded for financial administrative occupations (Figure 9.4.2)
- Between 2013 and 2014, overall employment levels remained relatively static
- Over four fifths of persons employed in business and financial occupations were aged 25-54 (Figure 9.4.3)
- Over 90% of those employed at professional level and almost 80% at associate professional level were third level graduates; the share was 56% for those employed in administrative occupations (Figure 9.4.4)
- The share of females employed in financial administrative occupations and as HR managers and HR industrial relations officers was relatively high, ranging from 70% to 75%.
In 2014, newly advertised vacancies for persons with financial and business skills were numerous. For instance, on the DSP and Irishjobs.ie vacancy portals alone, there were 2,300 vacancies for financial professionals (accountants, business analysts, actuaries and economists), 2,500 for financial technicians (accounting, insurance and investment) and 2,500 for financial clerks.
Financial and business skills are demanded by almost all sectors of the economy, although many are employed directly in the financial and professional activities sectors. Many of the vacancies were arising due to the need to replace those who leave employment. For instance, almost 4,000 financial clerks, 2,000 financial professionals (accountants, business analysis, etc.) and 1,300 financial technicians (accounting, investment, and insurance) transitioned from employment into economic inactivity (retirement, study, home duties etc.) creating replacement demand. In addition, significant turnover was present in financial occupations, particularly in relation to financial accounts managers, economists and financial clerks.
Nonetheless, expansion demand for financial skills is expected to remain strong, as illustrated in recent job announcements: Miagen (forecasting, planning and analysis), Zalando (big data analytics), Acorn Life (financial advice), Accenture (including financial services), Zurich (insurance) etc. Demand for HR skills is also expected to grow as economic recovery takes hold, as illustrated in recent job announcements in the HR area (e.g. Hays Ireland Recruitment).
There is an ample supply of financial and business skills from the education system: in 2013/2014, there were 26,000 futher and higher education graduates from social science and business courses (including accounting and finance), of which 15,000 were at NFQ level 8 or above. Approximately 500 financial professionals and 400 financial technicians with third level qualifications were registered with the DSP in May 2015 as job ready job seekers, which is not excessive when the size of the workforce and frictional unemployment is taken into account.
However, shortages in the areas of business and finance continue to exist. There were over 350 work permits issued to non-EEA nationals for work in financial occupations (as managers, professionals and technicians) in 2014.
Shortages of skills have been identified in the following areas:
- Risk management
- Compliance (ALM, BAEL, MiFID, IAFID, AIFMD)
- Accounting (tax, audit, financial restructuring and management)
- Business intelligence (e.g. Oracle OBIEE, ERP with SAP)
- Data analytics, economics and statistics (big data, predictive analytics, data visualisation/infographics and quantitative modelling)
- Financial advisors (banking/ insurance)
- Fund accounting/trustee roles and transfer agency client servicing roles (especially with AML skills)
- Multilingual financial clerks (credit control and debt control).
Many financial companies are sourcing science, maths and computing graduates for roles in big data, quantitative modelling and business intelligence, as technological advances continue to blur the line between IT, finance, maths, science, engineering and other technical roles. This is only intensifying the issue of the availability of technical skills in Ireland and globally.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US which is currently being negotiated is expected to create significant growth in the financial services sector in Ireland, with particular growth potential identified for the insurance sector (DJEI, TTIP Impact in Ireland, February 2015) This is likely to further drive the demand for financial skills at professional, technician and administrative level.