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What Sectors pay the Highest Salaries?

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In a market close to full employment, Ireland isn’t short of interesting job opportunities and high paying salaries.

According to the CSO, average weekly earnings rose to €771.12 in Q2 of this year, up 3.5% on the previous year. The highest reported weekly earnings are in IT & technology followed by finance and insurance.

To get an insight into why these sectors are high paying, and what other sectors demand top salaries, read on below.

IT & Technology

Ireland is recognised globally as a centre of tech excellence with 9 of the top 10 US technology companies operating here and all 5 of the top global software companies.

Ireland also has an exciting tech start-up culture, with companies like Rent the Runway, the online fashion disruptor, setting up in Galway. In fact, the industry generates up to €35 billion in annual exports.

With such a high quantity of tech & IT companies based here, the demand for top talent is high. So much so recruiters and companies often look abroad for talent to relocate to Ireland in order to fill vacancies. As a result, it’s no surprise that the tech industry is one of the top-paying in Ireland.

What can I expect to earn in the technology sector in Ireland?

Average weekly salaries for tech professionals were €1212.57 in Q2 2019, with senior-level java developers looking at salaries of €100K. On the lower level, entry-level positions for software developers start at €30-35K.

Contract rates are also lucrative with technical UI/front end developers commanding up to €550 per day. Data analytics roles also demand top salaries as companies across all industries are looking to get utilise their data more effectively.

View IT & Tech Jobs


An educated talent pool, strong regulatory framework and ease of access to a single EU market has aided Ireland’s success as a global finance hub.

Companies such as State Street, Bank of Merrill Lynch and Barclays all now have Irish bases here, which in part has lead to the demand for fund and asset management, compliance and risk and investment banking professionals. Aviation leasing is another growing area of the sector with a 65% share of the global leasing market.

While Dublin remains the centre of financial services, areas outside of the capital also have prominent operations including Cork, Galway & Limerick.

What can I expect to earn in the finance sector in Ireland?

Finance is the second top-paying industry in Ireland with average weekly earnings of €1212.57. Highest paying areas of the sector include; risk & compliance, investment and asset management and funds.

View Finance Jobs

Science & Pharma

Ireland is home to the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies with €39 billion in annual exports, with new companies locating here regularly. Recently SK BioTek, the first South Korean company to invest in Ireland, has created 360 roles while WuXi Biologics have created 400 jobs.

What can I expect to earn in the science sector in Ireland?

Pharma and science professionals demand some of Ireland’s highest salaries with roles within validation, product development and quality sought after and high paying. A director of quality control can earn up to €125K while a validation manager can take home a high of €90K. On the entry-level spectrum, QA and QC analysts can start their career around €32K.

View Science & Pharma Jobs


Several large-scale engineering projects over the last year have created a surge in demand for engineering talent and a rise in salary expectations. There are over 220 engineering and industrial tech companies now based in Ireland with the manufacturing sector responsible for 23% of GDP.

What can I expect to earn in the engineering sector in Ireland?

Permanent salaries for automation engineers, chemical engineers and process engineers can all command high salaries of €90K.

There has also been an increase in demand for contracting due to Brexit and the demand for more varied work and projects. Validation engineers, design managers and process engineers all demand hourly rates of between €80 and €100.

View Engineering Jobs

Ultimately demand and skill set will dictate salaries within the sector you are working in, or hope to work in.

Interested in learning more about Ireland’s highest paying jobs? View our list of the top-paying jobs in Ireland.