Your career in finance

29 Sept 2023, 10:05

A look at what your career in finance in Ireland could involve and the different sectors that you could work in.

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Despite global economic and geopolitical challenges, Finance and related sectors, such as professional services, remain a strong source of both economic growth and graduate jobs in the Irish context. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remains a massive contributor to the Irish economy, but the trend remains healthy due to the country’s long-established benefits as a small, open, well-connected economy, an integral part of the EU, and a well-educated, English-speaking workforce.

However, inflation and spiking energy prices, primarily as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and general cost of living increases have meant that the economic outlook remains very uncertain, although it was stabilised. For those seeking to start a career in finance, the most common route of entry remains formalised graduate schemes, operated by many national and international, you will learn the business from the inside on a structured training programme and will be exposed to different aspects of what makes it function. However, the largest number of employers in the state are in the small to medium enterprise (SME) category and a great many graduates will start their financial career within this sector.

What employers are looking for?

While employers do target students with finance, business or mathematical related degrees, opportunities do exist for graduates across a wide range of disciplines. While many employers require at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree, this requirement is less stringent than it has been previously for many roles. Graduates who have a genuine interest in the world of finance and business and are commercially aware are always of interest to employers. They also like candidates who have some knowledge of the area of finance in which they would like to work. It is such a diverse field that attention to detail really stands out in an application, as opposed to a generic application.

Some of the core skills the employers seek:

  • Data skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Numeracy skills
  • IT skills
  • Foreign languages
  • Initiative and motivation
  • Communication and presentation skills

Client and stakeholder relations is a massive part of the world of finance, so communication is key, both internally and externally. Foreign languages are also a huge asset due to the global nature of finance, though they are not always required for travel related roles.

Careers with non-finance backgrounds

However, it’s not just financial, business or data related skills that lead to careers in financial firms. Many organisations in this sector, particularly the larger operators have departments that require a host of non-finance skills, these include:

  1. Human Resources
  2. Psychology
  3. Marketing
  4. Digital and design skills
  5. Software development/UX/UI
  6. Copywriting and public relations


This is the area with the highest percentage of graduate roles according to gradireland research. An accountant with the right experience can expect a diverse and growing range of career opportunities. The average salary for a graduate starting in accountancy is in the region of €25,000 and upwards, depending on the role.

Professional services

Major firms, such as the Big 4 of Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, have spearheaded the continuing growth of Ireland’s financial professional services industry. The continuing high rate of foreign direct investment into the island of Ireland has meant that there has been a steady growth in business within this sector.

The services offered by professional services firms continue to expand too. There remains a strong demand for excellent tax and audit services and advice in addition to growing demand for transfer pricing, corporate tax and VAT expertise.


Ireland is a major player in the global funds industry and there are a range of diverse, dynamic and exciting roles within the industry in both Irish and global firms. The range of skills within the funds industry continues to expand across all the major areas of fund promotion, fund management and fund administration.


Financial technology, or fintech, continues to revolutionise the financial sector in general. The amalgamation of financial services with technology is reshaping how the sector operates in sectors such as online and mobile payments and transactions.

For graduates from a business, finance or legal degree, the fintech space is one of great opportunity. In addition to numeracy and analytical skills, knowledge of SQL and UNIX and similar skills are increasingly in demand.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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