In the market for a pay rise? You might think you’re worth it, but your employer may not. For many pay rises are still few and far between. The shortest route to a bump in salary is often a change of job - but which pay the most?
The good news is that while wage growth remains muted, the pressure to find highly qualified candidates with specific skillsets is increasing the compensation for those in Ireland’s best paying jobs. Recruitment consultants are reporting pressure in certain sectors where there is a shortage of supply, which in turn is sending salaries and compensation packages up in a candidate-driven market. "Attracting senior executives in certain sectors is becoming more competitive and as a result, the salary base is creeping up. Senior hires want to be assured of a good financial package, but be confident the company culture is right fit for them," says Caitriona Lannen of Executive Jobs.
So which jobs are in demand, and what pay can candidates expect?
"The best-paying jobs are still at the high levels of accountancy and taxation, particularly those in niche areas," said Eileen Moloney of Brightwater Recruitment. "If you’re looking at insurance and financial services, actuaries are paid very highly."
Chief actuaries can expect up to € 300,000 a year, with senior actuaries commanding in the region of € 160,000. "There is a shortage in supply of talent into that arena, so if you blend experience on top of those technical skills and that competency set, that’s where you’d see a stress point," says Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig of Sigmar Recruitment.
In the IT sector, the search is on for professionals who can change rapidly, adapt to the market and spot the next big thing, according to Moloney. A chief technology officer can command in the region of € 120,000 - € 170,000 a year, with recruitment consultants claiming it can go higher. That’s in addition to a package that could include a car allowance and a bonus for the right person. "We see a premium in niche skillsets, for example, a tech skillset around development and some of the newer software development languages. There is a premium on those languages because they’re just emerging," says Mac Giolla Phadraig.
Within the financial services and banking sector, risk and compliance functions also have the ability to pull in salaries that are in the region of what a senior actuary can expect, according to Trayc Keevans of Morgan McKinley. A head of compliance can expect to earn € 160,000 and an employee working in professional services for risk advisory can expect the same figure. "What we are seeing not just here in Ireland but across the global economy is that there’s much more due diligence and compliance required for financial services and banking functions as a result of everything that has happened in the past," she says. "If anything, regulation is increasing and the need for companies to have a fitfor- purpose function in these areas is driving demand so it’s driving up the salaries."
The tech industry is also leading the way when it comes to offering shares as part of a pay package. Share option schemes mean that many employees are able to double their earnings within three years in one transaction. "It’s very much part of the incentive, to have stock options and to be vested in the company. Depending on the sector and depending on the company, that can happen at entry level from junior right through to senior level," says Keevans. Senior professionals now look at the equity created by stock options as an additional opportunity to earn money and view this element of their pay package as savings that they will not touch.
In the legal and accountancy professions, those who achieve partner level could command in the region of € 250,000 a year and receive a package and equity as part of that deal. "In accountancy and legal firms, particularly the smaller and medium-sized ones, the partner model works where there’s a share of profit or an equity share or a dividend type structure for compensation. There are two levels in larger firms, so a lot of the partners would be equity partners and a lot of the newer partnerships are probably more titled than partner in the profit sense," says Mac Giolla Phadraig.
In the legal sector, the arrival of multinationals that often hire their own legal in-house function in their Irish operation has provided new opportunities for lawyers.
An in-house head of legal can now earn in the region of € 200,000 - € 300,000 a year as well as a package. Keevans says that while lawyers may be better paid on a salary basis, accountants also have the possibility to progress into other areas where such as treasury, head of finance or chief financial officer, which can bring in between € 180,000 and € 250,000.
Another area that is also experiencing huge growth across Ireland is engineering, a sector which recruitment consultants are naming as one of the areas professionals will be most in demand this year. "The pharma, medical device and food sectors are all driving big demand for engineers and software engineering. Chemical, quality and process engineers coming out of college can start at anything from € 32,000 to € 34,000," says Keevans. "R&D engineers are very much in demand. A director or a VP of engineering could command between € 120,000 - € 170,000."