Employment sector outlook ‘cautiously positive’ for 2021, according to Matrix Recruitment

Employment, Irish News | Mon 11 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
Kieran McKeown Matrix Recruitment
Pictured: Kieran McKeown, MD, Matrix Recruitment

Regional salary increases anticipated in the financial services sector, according to the recruitment group

The pandemic will have no significant adverse effects on salaries this year, according to Matrix Recruitment’s 2021 Salary Guide, which was published today.

According to Kieran McKeown, MD of Matrix Recruitment, salaries across a wide range of sectors including finance, manufacturing, engineering, IT and quality & laboratory, will be in line with last year, although the recruitment group is anticipating marginal increases in specific industries and roles, particularly where there may be skills shortages.

Speaking about the employment outlook for 2021, Mr McKeown said: “Any measure of sectoral stability is to be welcomed and the outlook is more positive than we would have anticipated six months ago, given the turbulence of the employment market during 2020.”

Financial Services, Accountancy & IT Sectors Stable

2021 is looking positive for those working or looking to work in financial services, bolstered by the fact that Ireland has become a top choice for financial institutions relocating from the UK on the back of Brexit. This year, financial controllers (financial services) can expect a salary of between €60K – €85K, while risk officers can expect to earn between €45K – €60K, both of which are in line with 2020 salaries.

While salaries for many roles are not expected to see an upward move in 2021, certain areas can expect to see modest growth, especially in the capital. For 2021, a credit union lending/loans officer, for example, can expect to command a salary of up to €45K (up 17% on 2020 figures).

Worth noting is the significant difference in salary expectations and offerings often seen between Dublin and the rest of the country. Credit analysts, for examplecan expect to earn between €30K – €45K in Dublin this year; regionally, however, this drops to between €24K – €30K.

Accountancy went through huge technological advancements over the past 12 months, accelerated by COVID-19. As a result, the demand for highly skilled technical accountancy talent has increased significantly, keeping salaries competitive. In Dublin, a financial director can expect to earn between €150 – €200K. The starting salary in the Midlands and the West of Ireland for the same role is €100K and in the South East, €120K. Landing a job with one of the Big 4 means a newly qualified accountant can earn between €50 – 65K in the Dublin market, but if located in the South East, the salary range is closer to €45 – €50K.

Businesses have begun exploring the option of growing their operations outside of Dublin, with the south east being a top choice for sectors such as financial services, compliance, IT and supply chain.

A financial controller (accountancy) can expect a starting salary of €80K, regardless of location, which is good news for those looking beyond the capital for their career progression.

The drive to digitalise has also resulted in the IT market becoming increasingly candidate-driven with demand for experienced network engineers and system administrators rising across the country. Demand for high calibre IT candidates with expertise in Java, JavaScript and C++ has also intensified with starting salaries in this area expected to range between €45K – €75K. A chief technology officer can expect to earn between €120 – €160K working in Dublin (€90 – €140K in the regions) and the starting salary for an IT director, regardless of location is €100K this year.  IT managers will earn up to €120K in Dublin, which is currently more lucrative for IT engineers.

Salaries in the Quality & Laboratory and Manufacturing sectors will also remain steady this year, according to the Matrix Recruitment 2021 Salary Guide. Lab technician salaries are expected to fall between €30K – €40K, microbiologists between €45K – €50K, while manufacturing plant manager salaries are forecast at between €90K – €110K.

Rise of the regions

Businesses have begun exploring the option of growing their operations outside of Dublin, with the south east being a top choice for sectors such as financial services, compliance, IT and supply chain. This trend is set to continue in 2021 and will affect salaries in the region, particularly for roles where there is a shortage of talent.

According to last year’s Salary Guide, finance business partners in the south east had the potential to earn up to €85K but the outlook for 2021 is more positive, with this year’s Guide forecasting a rise of 12% to €95K. 

Financial controller (accountancy) salaries in the South East, Midlands and West are set to rise by up to 10% and in 2021, those with several years’ experience can expect to earn up to €110K.

Payroll manager salaries in the Dublin region are expected to hold steady at €65K – €80K for the next 12 months. Meanwhile, in the Midlands and West, Matrix Recruitment is anticipating an increase of 7% for the same role, with an opportunity to earn up to €65K (v €60K last year).

Supply chain manager salaries in the south east are expected to increase by 5% in 2021 to between €70K – €90K, depending on experience. Supply chain directors can command a starting salary of €90K, regardless of geographic location.

With some notable exceptions, recruitment for permanent positions across all industries dropped significantly this year. Instead, there has been a rise in the number of temporary and contract positions available, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

In the main, when it comes to advertised salaries, Dublin still trumps the regions. However, with many other factors influencing workplace choice including the cost of living in the capital, together with housing shortages and the daily commute, many candidates are willing to consider a slightly lower salary for a better work/life balance outside of Dublin. According to Mr McKeown, the past year will only have served to intensify this trend as many workers had time to consider their living situation, future goals and lifestyle amid the pandemic.

Permanent vs Contract

With some notable exceptions, recruitment for permanent positions across all industries dropped significantly this year. Instead, there has been a rise in the number of temporary and contract positions available, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

Cross-industry collaboration in areas such as research and development are on the rise and project-based work is common. As a result, some companies are offering attractive 12-month remuneration packages, notably in areas such as automated processes and lean manufacturing, where demand for skilled candidates is high.

Temporary work placements are also on the rise in less skill-based areas of manufacturing and pharma. This year Matrix Recruitment saw an increase in clients looking for fill-in temporary candidates due to the ongoing pandemic. This is expected to continue into 2021 until the need for COVID-19 testing and symptom checks in workplaces are made redundant by the widespread rollout of the vaccine.

For a copy of the the Matrix Recruitment Salary Guide, please click here.