At a Glance...

Banking, Insurance & Financial Services

Ireland is known globally for its significant reputation as a financial centre for international banking, funds and insurance. It comprises commercial banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial companies, cooperatives, pension funds, mutual funds and many other small financial entities.

Banking includes core banking activities, retail, private, corporate, investment and credit cards. Financial Service includes stock-broking, mutual funds, International Financial Services and the significant aircraft leasing sector that has developed in Ireland. Career opportunities in this sector are widely available for graduates especially in areas such as, ICT, engineering, mathematics, data analytics, business and law and will continue to be in demand for the next five to ten years.

With millions of transactions taking place in Ireland every day, it is no wonder that around 90,000 people are employed in this sector. The importance of the sector to the Irish economy has been evidenced in recent years by the banking crisis. The recovery process is likely to last a few years, but the banking sector will be one of the first to reap the rewards of such a recovery with employment becoming increasingly available.

Banking can be divided up into three areas:

Retail Banking – This provides services to smaller business and deals with the everyday financial transaction. They provide the public with such things as mortgages, savings accounts, loans, currency exchange and credit card facilities.

Corporate Banking – This is a service provided to larger businesses. They deal with advice, lending, investing deposits and specialist products for companies with large turnovers.

This would be the area many young graduates would gain employment or even people with their Leaving cert can gain a career here and follow up on their degrees at a later stage. Most banks seek people who have good communication skills, enjoy public contact and feel comfortable handling large amounts of cash.

Irish banks have their own professional banking exams which you must be prepared to undertake if you wish to progress through the ranks. The amount of experience and the level of responsibility involved in the particular job influence associated salary levels.

Investment Banking – All of the large Banks in Ireland have their own investment banks. They also put their customer’s money to use in order to make a larger profit. This is done by investing in foreign exchange, bonds, gilts and on the stock market.

If you were to operate this end of the banking you would be known as a trader or dealer. Your job would be to buy a commodity at one price and sell it off at a higher one.

There is also an investment manager and their main function is to help their company find money to operate and grow the business, make acquisitions, plan for its financial future and manage any cash on hand. Responsibility can come fast and your problem-solving skills will be put to work quickly in corporate finance.


Ireland is internationally recognised as a centre for financial services and our industry includes over 430 companies which employ over 38,000 people. Under a new strategy for the sector, the government aims to create an additional 10,000 jobs in this sector in the next five years.

This sector has four main areas of financial activity:

  • Accounting and Financial Management
  • Banking and related services
  • Financial and Investment planning
  • Insurance Services

With half of the top 50 banks in the world located here in Ireland, the financial services often attract energetic and ambitious people to employ.

The most common career paths that branch out of the industry are: financial planning, insurance, public accounting and hedge funds. Careers such as financial analyst, trader, regulatory compliance officer or quantitative analyst are on offer in these areas.

If you like lots of responsibility and the pressure that goes with it, then this may be the right career for you to consider.

It usually takes at least 2 years on the job training before you gain enough experience and expertise to be given the authority and freedom to trade on behalf of your Bank or Corporation.


In 2012 the IFSC celebrated its 25th year as one of the world’s leading financial services centres. The importance of the International Financial Services Centre to the Irish economy is indisputable. It has become one of the leading hedge fund service centres in Europe, and many of the world’s most important financial institutions have a presence here.

There has been dramatic changes in the composition of the international financial services industry with a shift in employment patterns, a loss in banking jobs but gains in fund administration, insurance, aircraft leasing and payments. Total employment in the IFSC stands at over 38,000 (a growth of 7.4% in 2015) with 10,000 people employed outside Dublin and pay over €1 billion in corporate taxes each year, with a further €1 billion going to the exchequer in payroll taxes.

Employment growth has been driven by technology focused roles, and has reflected Ireland’s ability to combine financial services and ICT strengths. IFSC companies now account for about 38 per cent of all financial services corporation tax revenues

credit union logo

The Irish credit union movement was founded as a result of the efforts of three dynamic, pioneering and entrepreneurial people, namely Nora Herlihy, from Ballydesmond, a teacher based in Dublin; Sean Forde, an employee of Peter Kennedy Bakers, Dublin; and Séamus P. MacEoin, from Kilkenny, a Civil Servant working in Dublin.

In Dublin in the 1950’s, they witnessed the effects of high unemployment: sickness, malnutrition, money-lending, hunger, poor clothing, poor housing, and inevitably, emigration of one parent or of the whole family. In addition, state unemployment benefits were low and did not last indefinitely leaving many families in abject poverty.

The founders recognised the root of the problem as lying in the scare availability and poor management of money and resolved to identify a system that would allow people to gain more control over their finances.

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