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Which Sectors are Growing in Ireland? 2021

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At the start of each year, we speak to our teams about what jobs are in demand, what skill sets employers are looking for and the sectors in Ireland that are ‘booming’.

2020 was a challenging year for everyone but there is hope and opportunities ahead. According to the OCED, despite the difficulties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ireland’s economy is projected to recover in 2021 and many sectors have continued to hire and even prosper.

Prospects also look promising for workers outside of Dublin, with regional employment on the increase and more than half (52%) of IDA investments going to regional locations in 2020 including Diligent’s new European Hub in Galway.

Overall, sectors that are prospering include technology, life sciences & pharma, and areas relating to data protection and our new ways of working, for example, privacy and employment law specialists.

Below we detail these sectors, what areas are growing, and the roles employers will be hiring for in 2021.

Sectors Growing in Ireland 2021

Life sciences & pharma

Ireland’s Life Sciences sector is one of the most active in the world. Last year and into 2021, the science sector remains front and centre with all eyes on vaccine developments, Covid-19 related products and pioneering companies such as Pfizer.

We saw a surge in graduate and junior level applications; however, a skills shortage remains in areas such as MSAT, quality, process development, and chemistry R&D.  

Travel restrictions, delays with visa applications and hesitance from candidates to relocate or change roles in such uncertain times were all limitations in 2020, however, for 2021 the demand for mid to senior-level life science and pharma professionals perseveres.

View Life Sciences Jobs


Ireland’s IT & Technology sector has been featured on this list for many years now and 2021 looks to be no different. 2020’s new remote work environment highlighted the vulnerabilities of companies to data breaches and other threats to their systems and information resulting in a demand for cybersecurity specialists.

Cloud engineers, DevOps engineers are also in demand, with AWS and Azure being the market leaders, alongside AI specialists. LinkedIn data further backs this up with 15 countries worldwide listing Artificial Intelligence Specialist as the #1 emerging job in 2020.

Outside these specialist areas, the biggest skills shortage remains amongst advanced data scientists with expertise across ML, AI and NLP.

The sector is also experiencing high demand for scrum masters, agile coaches, agile project managers, product owners, and product managers across all levels, as organisations look to implement an agile delivery model.

View Tech & IT Jobs

Data protection, employment, and privacy experts

Similar to the increased need for Cloud developers and cybersecurity experts, Ireland’s legal sector has seen a shift in demand for data protection and fintech professionals, heightened by the huge shift to online services in 2020.

There is a high demand for legal professionals in both areas, but the sudden nature of these requirements means there is a shortage of talent available.

The pandemic has also created a need for professionals well versed in Employment Law as businesses across Ireland adapt to new working norms and navigate new challenges, such as temporary layoffs.

View Legal Jobs

Financial services

The funds and asset management space sustained healthy activity throughout 2020, which continues as we enter 2021. Risk and compliance professionals are also in demand as Ireland’s fintech space continue to boom.

Tax is also a busy area and we are seeing increased demand for tax accountants, tax analysts, tax specialist and indirect tax. Start-ups are increasingly looking for strong financial talent to help them navigate the current market.

In terms of banking, 2020 was a challenging year however our specialists expect the retail and commercial arrears sector to be a significant area for recruitment in 2021 due to the economic impact on both personal and business credit.

While in terms of Brexit, Ireland’s centres of excellence in financial services, our English-speaking workforce and understanding of UK markets all leave Ireland’s Finance sector in a good position and are proving beneficial in attracting reputable global brands to Ireland.

View Finance Jobs

It is encouraging that sectors in Ireland continue to grow and hire, in particular Life Sciences, Technology. Other sectors not mentioned above that are performing well include healthcare, areas of sales, jobs with language skills, digital marketingand e-commerce.

If you’d like to speak to a recruiter about job opportunities or hiring talent, visit our specialist sectors page. You can also view all current job opportunities via our job board which is updated every day.