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Minister Burke and Minister Richmond welcome report on future skills needs for the International Financial Services sector

 Minister Burke and Minister Richmond welcome report on future skills needs for the International Financial Services sector

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke TD, and Minister of State for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance, Neale Richmond TD, today welcomed the publication from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) on the skills needed for Ireland’s International Financial Services sector. 

The report, entitled Skills for International Financial Services – an Assessment of Future Skills Requirements in High Potential Sub-sectors of Ireland’s International Financial Services Sector to 2027 – was carried out by Indecon Economic Consultants for the EGFSN addressing actions agreed under the Ireland for Finance Action Plans 2021-2023. The study was overseen and guided by an expert Steering Group, Chaired by Martina Kelly from the Institute of Bankers 

Commenting on the launch of the report, Minister Burke said:  

“Ireland’s IFS sector has its origins in the IFSC in Docklands and has grown over the past 30 years to an estimated €11 billion worth of exports, equivalent to 6.3% of GDP. I welcome this report from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs that identifies specific skills needs for seven High Potential Sub-sectors within the overall IFS sector. 

“Implementing the recommendations in this report will help the sector maximise its potential over the next five years. I would like to offer my support to the Implementation Group that is currently being set up to drive these actions forward, following the launch of the report today.” 

The report highlights the strategic importance of the sector for Ireland’s economy and predicts that it will need to recruit between 6,000 and 9,000 people between now and 2027. This will result in an estimated skills gap in the sector of more than 4,000 people if the stronger growth scenario outlined in the report is realised. 

Beyond these headline figures, however, the report also sets out detailed analyses of skills required by each of the 7 high-potential sub-sectors identified in the study. 

Minister Richmond added:  

“This report is a welcome strand of our whole-of-government Ireland for Finance Strategy and will underpin our work on identifying and developing the skills required for the international financial services sector.  This sector is set to have strong growth, but this requires skilled workers. As such, implementing the recommendations in the report will allow us to ensure that the sector has the skills it needs to succeed. 

“People are at the centre of the international financial services sector and we need to ensure that not only do we have enough skilled workers to meet the needs of the sector, but also that there are skills, qualifications, education and training programmes in place to ensure that we have a pipeline of talent that can allow the sector to thrive not only now, but into the future.  

“This work is underway; the Ireland for Finance Action Plans already outline a range of specialist educational and training programmes to be developed or delivered for the international financial services industry, including programmes in sustainable finance regulation for compliance professionals; masters-level programmes in blockchain, fintech, and compliance, and others.“  

Minister Burke continued: 

“Growth prospects for the sector are strong. And to underpin this growth, there will be a need for a range of specific skills, to include sustainable finance practices andthe promotion of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards across all areas of financials services. 

“Additionally, to support digitalisation in the sector, it is essential that new staff are trained in data science and coding, and that upskilling is provided to the existing workforce. There is also a need to ensure that the skills needed for automation and AI are created. Business and government must work together to make sure that the workforce is appropriately trained for this transition.” 

Tony Donohoe, Chair of the EGFSN, added: 

“This report provides a response to actions agreed under the Ireland for Finance Action Plans 2021-2023, to carry out an assessment and forecast of skills needs in the International Financial Services sector.  The sector is of considerable importance for Ireland and it is essential that we ensure that the necessary skills are developed to support the sector’s future growth. 

“Seven high-potential sub-sectors have been identified in the report and these represent 95% of the overall employment in the sector.  Firms interviewed for this study identified that staff with NFQ Level 10 qualifications are going to represent the biggest shortfall in the coming years.  The study estimates that there could be a shortfall of more than 4,000 graduates by 2027. 

“A key recommendation in the report is that a skills framework should be developed for the sector.  This will be led by the Institute of Bankers and over time will involve all of the sub-sectors identified in this report.  This project should bring significant clarity to the detailed skills requirements across the sub-sectors as well as to the career development options available to the existing workforce and potential new entrants.” 

Nine recommendations have been set out in the report.  A National Oversight and Implementation Group is being established to coordinate their implementation over the next two years.It will meet in the coming weeks and will be Chaired by Kevin Gallen, formerly of the Institute of Bankers.  

Further Information 

Find the full report: Skills for International Financial Services – Assessment of Future Skills Requirements in High Potential Sub-sectors of Ireland’s International Financial Services Sector to 2027

The main findings of the report are: 

  • The IFS sector has its origins in Dublin Docklands in 1987. Currently it includes more than 430 companies, approximately 300 of which are multinationals, produces exports worth more than €11 billion, and accounts for 6.3% of GDP. 
  • Overall employment in the International Financial Services sector has grown from 35,000 in 2014 to 56,000 in 2022, a 60% increase over the period. 
  • Seven high-potential sub-sectors were identified for the purpose of this study.  They are listed in the table below.  These seven sub-sectors account for 53,200 employees. 
  • It is estimated that employment across the seven high growth-potential IFS sub-sectors within the focus of this assessment will expand by between 5,900 and 9,300 persons, reaching between 59,000 and 62,500 persons by 2027. 
  • An annual shortage of graduates in relevant disciplines from the education system estimated at between 800 and 4,300 persons could arise by 2027. 
  • As well as an anticipated shortfall in employment headcount, there are skill and occupational needs that may not directly be addressed by current education and training provision.  
  • Among the gaps in skills and competencies most highlighted by firms across the high potential IFS sub-sectors of focus within this assessment were: ESG / sustainable finance; IT, digital and data analytics skills, including in crypto and blockchain, cybersecurity and AI; Risk & compliance, regulatory and associated legal skills; Soft ‘human experience’ skills; and Anti-Money Laundering knowledge/skills. 
  • At occupation level, the most cited professional skill gaps highlighted by firms included: Accountants and tax experts; Actuaries, economists and statisticians; Financial accounts managers; Financial analysts; Legal professionals; IT professionals; Senior asset/portfolio management and investment professionals; and Anti-Money Laundering professionals. 


Identified Sub-sectors 

Identified Sub-Sectors within IFS Sector in Ireland with Highest Growth Potential over 2023-27 

Fintech and Payments 

Asset Management 

Investment Funds and Securities Services 

Insurance and Reinsurance 

International Banking 

Wholesale Capital Markets 

Aircraft Leasing and Finance 

Summary of the recommendations in the report 

  1. Establish a National Oversight and Implementation Group to drive and coordinate implementation of the recommendations in the report. 
  2. Develop a Skills Framework for the IFS sector. 
  3. Coordinate an effective supply-side response to the skills needs identified by the Skills Framework. 
  4. Enhance provision and promotion of upskilling and reskilling opportunities in the sector. 
  5. Further develop initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion. 
  6. Develop and promote apprenticeships as a career pathway. 
  7. Industry and education sectors should collaborate to ensure that relevant courses are put in place. 
  8. Attract skilled people from outside Ireland. 
  9. Consider how labour market information and data can be enhanced at sub-sector level. 

About the EGFSN 

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) advises the Irish Government on the current and future skills needs of the economy and on other labour market issues that impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth. It has a central role in ensuring that labour market needs for skilled workers are anticipated and met. 

The Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluations Division within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment provides the EGFSN with research and analysis support. 

Contact Expert Group on Future Skills Needs at