Tech titans and consumer giants steal a march on banks in talent battle amongst Irish business students

Top career goal is work-life balance Salary expectations high among Irish students compared to other markets

Software and computer services, FMCG, and banking are the top three most popular sectors amongst Irish business students, according to research released today by Deloitte. 

The research was carried out to assess how the banking industry is faring in terms of attracting business graduates to the profession. Overall, the research highlights the dominance of the software sector in Ireland. A quarter of respondents indicated this was their sector of choice, compared to 14% who favour the banking industry. This dominance is more pronounced than anywhere else in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa. 

The analysis is based on the Universum Talent Survey 2014. Deloitte examined the results from 174,000 business students in 31 markets globally. 870 business students in Ireland were surveyed.

The top career goals identified by business students in Ireland were to have a work-life balance (63%); to be secure or stable in my job (46%); and to be a leader or manager of people (39%). Among those respondents who indicated that they would be interested in a career in banking, ‘to be competitively or intellectually challenged’ was the second most popular career goal, after achieving a work-life balance.

The findings also show that €36,700 is the expected annual salary amongst Irish business students. This rises to €42,900 amongst banking-inclined students, and to €45,300 amongst investment banking-inclined students. These expectations are high compared to other markets, including the UK. This may reflect the fact that business students are targeting multinationals, and that banking-inclined students are setting their sights on a job with global investment banks in London.

Supporting the desire for secure employment, the findings show that a third of Irish business students expect to stay in their first job for over five years or more. A further 29% expect to stay in their role for a period of three years. 

Commenting, David Dalton, Head of Financial Services, Deloitte said: “Ireland’s technology industry is strong and thriving, which is extremely positive in terms of driving the Irish economy and indeed the career opportunities that it offers graduates here. In no other market do so many high-tech companies feature in the “ideal employer” listings. In short, the competition for talent is intense – both from other industries, and overseas opportunities within the banking industry. What’s more, talent is becoming a critically important issue for the banking industry here in Ireland. Increased regulation and compliance requirements, and indeed the increased complexity of these, mean that banks need to be recruiting dynamic business graduates. They need students with information technology skills to meet both regulatory demands and consumer preferences for online and mobile banking.

“Banks need to ensure that they are aligned to students’ expectations – for example, 45% of banking-inclined students list secure employment as a top-three career goal, but just 29% believe a career in banking offers that. The onus is on banks to advertise the positions that meet these demands, and address unhelpful perceptions about their culture. Failing to do so could mean they miss out on this generation of talent, with longer-term consequences for their ability to compete against new non-bank competitors.”

In addition to the banking sector, Deloitte also examined how the insurance sector is faring in terms of attracting business graduates. The popularity of insurance in Ireland is fifth-lowest among the 17 markets analysed in detail in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Just 0.6% of employers ranked by business students in their top five “ideal employers” were insurers. Findings also show that female Irish business students are much less likely than their male counterparts to express an interest in working in insurance – women make up 60% of business students surveyed, but just 44% of those expressing an interest in insurance. 

The attribute that Irish insurance-inclined students want most in a job is “supportive leadership” – they place far more emphasis on this than other Irish business students. Irish insurance-inclined students’ high aspiration to work in a creative, dynamic environment is not matched elsewhere in the world. 59% of insurance-inclined students in Ireland include it as one of their top three aspirations, compared to 37% of insurance-inclined students globally.


About the survey

The Deloitte Talent in Banking Survey 2014 and Talent in Insurance Survey 2014 are based on a survey about business students’ career intentions in 31 markets around the world.  Universum, which conducted the survey, polled 700,000 students and professionals from 2,000 universities and institutions of higher education in 36 markets.  Deloitte examined the survey results from 174,000 students in the 31 markets. 870 business students in Ireland were surveyed.

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Aoibheann O’Sullivan

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About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Deloitte has nearly 2,000 people in Ireland providing audit, tax, consulting, and corporate finance services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. 

Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.


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