Northern Ireland | Cpl Salary Guide for Ireland
Northern Ireland | Cpl Salary Guide for Ireland

Northern Ireland 2024

57% of People Upskilled Last Year

Survey data can be found here

A Leading Destination for Investors

Northern Ireland provides excellent career opportunities, lower-than-average living costs, an outstanding education system, and access to world-class public services.

With rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes, the region offers a high quality of life, making it an attractive destination to both work and live.

 A Leading Destination for Investors

​Businesses are Confident About Their Future in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland proves itself as a premier destination for investors and business growth. It hosts global giants, and more are attracted annually by the region's skilled workforce, excellent infrastructure, and competitive, business-friendly environment. Recent investors recognise the positive attitude and talent, making Northern Ireland an ideal place for expansion.

In 2023, there was a shift from the talent surge and rising salaries that dominated 2022, leading to a more measured recruitment market. Companies, facing economic and supply chain challenges, took more time to hire, but despite their need, they were hampered by delays in permanent headcount approvals. Prolonged recruitment processes resulted in employers losing preferred candidates, even after job offers were accepted. They were also presented with the challenge of the disappointment of counter offers for their preferred choice of candidate, which has become more common. Despite the 2023 slowdown and economic concerns, there remains absolute confidence from our business community that hiring the right talent will drive development, ensuring a perpetual demand for quality candidates.

In-Demand Roles Across the Region’s Main Industries

 Several sectors play a vital role in the Northern Ireland economy, and talent within these areas is in high demand. Key sectors experiencing heightened demand for skilled candidates include:

  • IT: Software Development, Database Development, Cyber Security, Business Intelligence

  • Life Sciences: R&D Scientists, Food Scientists, Biotech Specialists, Analytical Chemists

  • Manufacturing & Engineering: Maintenance Engineers, Design Engineers, Continuous Improvement Specialists, Project Managers

  • Business & Financial Services: Qualified Accountants (1-2 years PQE), Payroll Specialists, Finance Analysts, Auditors, and Accounts Payable Specialists.

In-Demand Qualifications

Candidates with a gateway third-level qualification in IT are among the most in-demand talent in Northern Ireland. Despite redundancies across this sector, Northern Ireland is recognised as having some of the most highly skilled tech and diverse technology talent in the UK and, on occasion, demand for this talent can outstrip the supply.

Also, feeding the future success of the Northern Ireland economy will be candidates with qualifications in other STEM subjects, particularly in science and engineering. The span globally of local businesses such as Almac, Norbrook, and Moy Park, along with local manufacturing businesses, employs approximately 11% of the NI workforce, making the enrollment of candidates in STEM-related subjects in universities and local vocational colleges vitally important.

Securing Talent in Northern Ireland

Salaries have remained stable across 2023 in the majority of sectors. While the job market was resilient, strains on the economy meant candidates were reluctant to consider moving roles at the same rate as the previous years. The rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland reached a record low of 2.1% in September so, with renewed confidence in continued growth in the job market, and a high demand for talent in 2024, we expect to see salaries rise at a quicker pace.

To secure top talent, companies in Northern Ireland have continued to focus on offering attractive benefits such as flexible work options, learning and development, and increasing their emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Some organisations have sought to return their people to the office, but generally, hybrid working arrangements have remained for most and we expect this to remain through 2024.

Companies with smaller workforces that don’t offer hybrid are finding it challenging to attract the right level of candidate for their roles. To combat the lack of hybrid working, some are offering flexible working hours, i.e. flexible start and finish times. Health insurance and added well-being benefits are also being included in packages by many businesses, encouraging employees to develop a healthy work-life balance and improve their mental health.

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