Markets in focus: Ireland (part two)

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As part of a series focusing on thriving economies, this second installment provides an insight into Ireland's key markets to watch.

We examine recent growth in the life sciences & pharmaceuticals, technology and finance sectors and how this growth has reinforced Ireland's status as a leading contributor in the EU and beyond. 

Life sciences and pharmaceuticals

Following a highly prosperous 2017, Ireland’s life sciences sector is set to experience further growth. Due to the strength of the industry, investors are becoming increasingly interested in the sector’s start-up scene – industry giants such as James Caan CBE are already laying down foundations for extensive investment infrastructure. 

[caption id="attachment_60920" align="alignleft" width="220"] Ireland is ranked 10th globally for scientific research[/caption]

The life sciences industry is undeniably struggling with skills shortage more intensely than others, owing to the increasing demand for skilled roles, for which the industry standards remain extremely high. To overcome this, many large corporates are collaborating with universities to develop talent for specific skill-sets. The government has also started to offer tailored courses to meet the growing demand.

Despite this shortage, however, Ireland’s life sciences industry continues to boom. Nine of the world’s top ten largest drug corporations are based in Ireland, it is ranked 10th globally for scientific research and half the country’s exports come from this sector.

The biopharma industry alone directly employs 28,200 individuals and has grown a reputation of “good quality, leading edge manufacturing, compliance and trustworthiness”. A recent government report revealed that it employs the same number of people indirectly, through marketing, sales and research roles.

Ireland’s reputation as a leading life sciences and pharmaceuticals hub places it as a strong contender to host the European Medicines Agency. Currently based in London, relocation looks likely post-Brexit. If Ireland won the bid, the economy would benefit hugely, generating hundreds of jobs directly, plus thousands as by-products of the relocation.



Financial services

[caption id="attachment_60400" align="alignright" width="393"] Financial services recruitment consultancy, 360 Search, partnered with RE in September 2018[/caption]

Continued foreign and home investment are the driving forces behind the current financial services boom in Ireland. The possibility of a hard Brexit positions Dublin as a favourable location for European relocation –ranked top in Europe for ease of paying business taxes, it’s a convenient hub within commutable distance from London. Already, many multi-national banking corporations, including JP Morgan, Bank of America and Barclays, have announced their intention to expand within Ireland. This has in turn fuelled the country’s demand for finance professionals.

Local banking institutions also continue to thrive, with Hays reporting, ‘the profit lines and client base of Ireland’s pillar banks are beginning to resemble levels last seen in 2008’. With the financial sector booming and the outlook remaining bright, demand for sector-specialists continues to exceed existing supply.

Recruitment Entrepreneur recently invested in two financial recruitment consultancies in Ireland – 360 Search and Darwin Hawkins – and has plans to further establish its Irish hub with further investments in 2019.


Ireland’s tech ecosystem has soared over the past couple of years. In terms of venture capital funding, Irish tech companies have grown from €522 million 2015 to €994 million in 2017 –  almost twice as much as in Berlin. Private seed funding has also doubled in the last year – from €700 million to €131 million – as Ireland becomes a hotbed for software development.

Dublin has been branded the tech start-up centre of Europe, with global brands such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all establishing bases in the Silicon Docks area of the capital. The Irish government has recognised the sector’s consistent growth and has consequently invested heavily in digital transformation to support future development.

The substantial growth of the tech market in Ireland has provided start-ups with a mature incubator market, where tech companies can “germinate, give birth and grow, with global ambitions in sight” (Irish Independent). Having partnered with Belfast-based technology recruitment start-up Hayward Hawk in 2016, Recruitment Entrepreneur is well-placed to support other agencies who are in their early growth phase and looking to scale.

The third and final piece in this series will focus on the growing number of start-ups in Ireland and how Recruitment Entrepreneur’s unique model works to support their development into fully-fledged industry leaders.


To find out more about how Recruitment Entrepreneur could support you to launch or scale your recruitment business, get in touch today:

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