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Emigrating for Work: The Best Paying Jobs in Ireland

Posted by on February 27th, 2018. Connect with us on .

Emigrating from the UK to Ireland for work is an attractive prospect for many, as the nation unites the new with the familiar and is known for having spectacular landscapes and a welcoming populace.

The UK and Ireland are joined together under the Common Travel Area (CTA), which enables the free movement of citizens in both directions. As the CTA is a bilateral agreement based on a shared heritage, there are no signs that it will be in any way downgraded after Brexit. So those moving to Ireland for work don’t need to worry about long-term issues.

With that in mind, which positions in Ireland pay the best for a potential expat job hunter?

Moving Money, Manufacturing and Management

While Ireland might be famed for its musicians, writers and poets, the best-paid jobs are generally likely to be a little more prosaic and restricted to high-level management and financial roles.

The first of these positons is that of the Accountant.

To become an Accountant in the country you’ll need all the relevant qualifications.

Getting certified with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a good first step, as ACCA accreditation is recognised worldwide.

Being an accountant in Ireland, you can typically expect to take home around €55,000 -€75,000 a year, although this depends on experience and location. The more experience you have brings the potential of higher earnings, as does working in the capital, Dublin.

For the most highly-paid accountant positions, you might be able to expect a figure of over €100,000 per annum.

Another high-paying Irish role is that of Vice President (VP) of Engineering.

VPs actively manage engineering projects within their company, and are required to show leadership as well as minute attention to technical details.

Naturally, potential VPs will need a solid background and qualifications in engineering. Regarding the management side, limited leadership experience could be overlooked if the potential applicant excels with an innovative approach to projects and mechanical details.

Because of the importance of the role to companies, VPs of Engineering can earn between €111,000 and €140,000 on a yearly basis.

Those in search of an even higher income (and responsibilities) might want to scan the job ads for Chief Executive Officer (CEO) positions.

Becoming a CEO is easy enough if you’re founding your own company, but if you’re working your way up a company it will take hard work and elbow grease to get from an entry-level position all the way to the top.

The CEO is effectively the face of the company, taking responsibility for all the major decisions and also representing it in the public arena.

As well as managing overall company activities, CEOs also need to be expert people managers.

Having top-level business qualifications or management experience is a must to be promoted to CEO-level, as is a proven track record of unwavering company loyalty.

Ireland’s top-earning CEOs can expect to earn between €150,000 and €250,000 each year.

Hail to the Chief

While the CEO is top dog at most companies in Ireland, they aren’t the only chief officers among the country’s top earners.

Another position to look out for is that of Chief Technical Officer (CTO), which focuses on the management of company data and computer systems.

CTOs are often tasked with improving the efficiency of internal systems, as well as planning for changes that may need to be made during a company’s growth phase.

IT skills and qualifications are key to gaining the CTO role, although achievements in business and management won’t do any harm either.

CTO average earnings are a step down from those of CEOs, but Chief Technical Officers in Ireland still have the potential to get an annual salary of around €101,000.

Heading back into the financial sphere, Chief Financial Officers (CFO) can count themselves among Ireland’s top earners.

As with the other chief officers, these individuals are effectively the leaders of company activity in their field; in this case it’s financial affairs.

CFOs manage accountants and financial departments within companies, but also coordinate within the business as a whole.

Like accountants, financial qualifications are a must for prospective CFOs, in addition to proven communication and management abilities.

For their troubles, CFOs can be rewarded each year with incomes between €180,000 to €250,000.

Rounding off this collection of chief officers is the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

COOs are usually just beneath the CEO in a company’s leadership structure and have appropriate levels of responsibility.

While the CEO looks both outwards and inwards when considering development, the COO is more of a manager of managers, keeping a steady hand on all aspects of company business.

Given that the job is heavily management focused, long-time experience in managing departments and individuals is essential, as are the right kind of qualifications.

COOs usually earn between €150,000 to €250,000 each year, slightly lower than the average for CFOs but still a high income by national standards.

Heads of Irish Industry and Earnings

Rounding off this look at the best paid jobs in Ireland, here are some of the other top earners that aren’t as easily grouped.

For sticklers to the rules and those with a good eye for detail, the position of Head of Compliance can be an excellent fit.

Compliance departments are responsible for ensuring that the company operates in accordance with laws and regulations, both national and international.

Additionally, Compliance Heads in Ireland need to plan for emergencies and, if necessary, enact these measures to minimise damage and keep the company above water.

Given that the largest non-compliance fines can cost companies millions of Euros, successful Heads of Compliance can expect to rake in around €160,000 a year on average.

Along the same lines as a Head of Compliance, another high-earning position in Ireland can be working as the Head of Legal.

These individuals perform similar duties to Heads of Compliance, but are specifically focused on legally representing the company, rather than managing administration and monitoring.

Some companies roll compliance and legal departments into one, but for those working as Heads of Legal the average income is around €150,000 each year.

Understandably, a degree in law is imperative to hold this position, while a Master’s level degree could give your application an edge over others.

We’re near the top of the Irish earnings pyramid now, but there are still a couple more jobs to go – in the penultimate position is the Partner (Law or Accounting).

This generally isn’t a walk-in role, with a lifetime of experience, hard work and high-level education being the minimum requirements for Partner status.

In Ireland, Partners can be bound to companies via share options or permanent positions on boards, which amplifies their power when making decisions.

To become a Partner in the law or accounting fields, it’s best to excel at networking with the higher-ups, in addition to holding the expected top-level law and financial degrees.

At the higher end of the pay scale, Ireland’s Partners can expect to be paid around €250,000 a year.

Last and assuredly not least on our rundown of the best-paid jobs in Ireland is that of Actuary; a high-level financial advice role.

Actuaries are considered the financial forecasters of the business world, as by applying statistical analysis and numerical ability they’re called on to mitigate risk by offering courses of action.

A sound understanding of statistics or even a specified Actuary degree can be useful in becoming a certified position-holder, as can a track-record of making the right calls on major economic decisions.

Because they can eliminate risk or steer companies along the road to success, Actuaries in Ireland can earn a tidy €300,000 per year.


For those aiming a little lower than these high-pressure, high-salary positions, Ireland remains an extremely accommodating country for UK expats, thanks to relaxed immigration laws and the virtual absence of a language barrier.

If you were thinking of emigrating to Ireland for work or residency, stay tuned for more articles about Ireland and working overseas!

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