Cartoon showing a worker with a dumbbell and a cape dressed as a superhero showing strength.
Image: © Nuthawut/

Tech and life sciences jobs markets display ‘strength’ into 2024

24 Jan 2024

Trayc Keevans of Morgan McKinley Ireland said employers here will prioritise innovative skills to remain competitive in a tech-driven world.

Ireland’s jobs market looks to be stabilising, according to newly released data from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley. The data, which comes from the last quarter of 2023, indicates that the cautiously positive trend will continue into the first part of this year.

While there was a slight lull in job market activity towards the end of last year, this is par for the course coming up to the holidays. Salaries remained stable in Q4.

Overall, 2023 “involved significant adjustments in Ireland’s job market, marked on the one hand by resilience and on the other by strategic shifts in various industries,” said Trayc Keevans, global FDI director for Morgan McKinley Ireland.

She singled out tech, life sciences and financial services as demonstrating “ongoing strength” despite some significant cutbacks by big employers.

In tech, the introduction of EU cybersecurity regulations led to increased demand for specialised positions, particularly in digital resilience. “Looking ahead to 2024, this pattern of responding to evolving environments and regulatory requirements is likely to persist, where companies will prioritise innovative skills to remain competitive in a continuously evolving digital world,” said Keevans.

In Q4 of last year, the engineering sector remained stable for both permanent and contract positions, while the life sciences industry experienced a moderate decrease in demand for permanent positions. There was a focus on contract-based hiring aligned with budget considerations for 2024. Keevans said she anticipates “an uplift in hiring as several large pharmaceutical companies have expansion projects pipelined for 2024”.

A shift from hybrid working?

Morgan McKinley’s data found that employers are increasingly seeking employees’ presence onsite, which Keevans said signalled “a shift from the prevalent hybrid working model to a more balanced dynamic between remote and onsite work”.

The data also found that while salaries are stabilising, employers are not feeling the need to significantly increase pay packets to attract and retain talent. The 10pc decline in the number of job seekers between the third and fourth quarters of last year reflects an overall 30pc reduction for 2023.

While Morgan McKinley’s stats paint a picture of a market underpinned by employees who are happy to remain where they are, other recent data has shown that Irish workers are dissatisfied with their careers and want change. LinkedIn research from November and December 2023 showed that 73pc of Irish workers are thinking of changing jobs in 2024.

Most in-demand roles by sector

For workers who are thinking of changing jobs, or even those who want to keep abreast of market trends, Morgan McKinley rounded up a list of the most in-demand roles by discipline.

In tech, the most wanted positions are cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity senior analyst, cloud operations specialist, software developer, QA engineer, enterprise architect, DevOps engineer and CISO.

In the life sciences industry, the most sought-after jobs are quality specialist, QA auditor, QC analyst, QC manager and quality engineer.

Electrical engineer, maintenance engineer, process engineer, mechanical design engineer and manufacturing engineer are the most in-demand roles in engineering.

In professional services and finance, some of the most wanted tech roles include data protection officer, project manager, programme manager, SAP consultant and transformation manager.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading