Your career in finance

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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With the economy recovering from the worst of the pandemic, the finance
market continues to develop at quite a robust rate, both domestically and
internationally. The core growth sectors for the economy continue to be
technology, finance, professional services, FMCG and life sciences. The recent
changes to the Irish corporation tax, increasing from 12.5% to 15% will have an
effect, but those effects are unknow as of yet. Foreign Direct Investment is likely
to remain a primary driver behind the Irish economy for quite some time, so
any drop in investment would be a massive concern, but the trends are likely to
remain positive for the medium term.

Brexit is also an evolving situation, which will have a series of as yet unquantified impacts.
However, the pandemic has brought about a workplace revolution in many respects, with remote working opening up avenues of new opportunity for many. Despite this, for many finance graduates, formalised graduate schemes, operated by many national and international firms, remain the primary focus. On a graduate scheme you will learn the business from the inside on a structured training programme, and will be exposed to different aspects of what makes the organisation function.

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
  • Administration and organisation
  • Foreign languages
  • Project management
  • 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.

This is the area with the highest percentage of graduate roles according to the forthcoming gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends survey. 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.

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, UNIX and SQL and similar skills are increasingly in demand.

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