2017 Accounting in Financial Services Salary Survey & Employment Overview

January 20

Accounting in Financial Services Salary Survey & Employment Overview 2017

General Observations

The Financial Services Accountancy market has experienced steady growth throughout 2016 as confidence continues to grow, bolstered by both market expansion and growth acceleration in this sector. This growth in confidence in the market has been reflected in candidates at all levels who are increasingly willing to explore and/or move jobs in order to further their career. Another attributing factor has been the significant increase in job opportunities that has been evident across Banking, Insurance, Aircraft Leasing, Aviation and the Funds market.

Salaries & Bonuses

There has been movement in the salary levels of accounting professionals within the banking and financial services over the past year, and professionals moving roles are typically doing so for better compensation prospects. Our research reflected this market confidence with 78% of accounting
professionals receiving a pay rise in the past 2 years. Furthermore, 73% of accounting professionals are looking to move jobs in 2017. Career progression is commonly cited as the main reason for Accountants changing roles this year (54%), followed by compensation (35%). We have seen the reintroduction of bonuses across financial services, albeit at a conservative level, but this is a positive development nonetheless. Our survey results indicated that 1 in 2 accounting professionals received a bonus in 2016.

For breakdown of salaries in this sector please click here

In-Demand Professionals

As the market continues to grow, we have seen a significant increase in demand for qualified accountants, particularly in the 0 – 3 years PQE bracket, typically earning €50k – €55k, and in some cases reaching up to €60k. Candidates with more than 3-5 years’ experience have typically seen some movement with salaries ranging from €60k – €75k. Financial Controller and CFO level positions have also seen increased activity, albeit with fewer opportunities, but this market continues to remain steady. These senior positions seek individuals that are entrepreneurial, strategic and possess good business acumen to drive businesses forward.

The increased compliance and regulatory requirements in Banking, Insurance and Funds have led to a demand for experienced IFRS and Solvency II candidates. Professionals with strong experience in commercial analysis, forecasting and financial modelling are in high demand as the talent pool decreases. Other observations worthy of note this year include a significant increase in qualified and part-qualified accounting opportunities in both permanent and contract positions. Permanent recruitment remains the most common place recruitment strategy, but this year we are also seeing an increase in the use of short and medium-term contracts, especially in this sector.

Finally, we expect that 2016 will be the last year that sees skill shortages and reduced graduate numbers, as 2017 will witness the positive impact of graduate programmes that began in 2013.


As the Irish economy continues to grow, so does confidence within the banking sector. This has created new opportunities with a significant demand for newly qualified Financial Accountants. This market has experienced a skills shortage as a result of minimal-to-no graduate trainee programmes during the period of 2010 – 2013.


The insurance market remains positive with an increased demand for qualified and part-qualified accountants. 2016 has seen employers offering improved packages in order to entice high calibre talent to their firms. We have also seen bonuses coming back into play, albeit discretionary, but this has proven an important factor when candidates make their final decision. Our survey results also reflect this, with 52% of accounting professionals receiving a bonus in 2016.

Aircraft Leasing and Aviation

The aircraft finance industry and the level of current change is at an all-time high, and this growth has resulted in increased job opportunities across the Audit, Compliance and Accountancy sectors. Compared to this time last year, we have seen an increase in the demand for experienced candidates with 5+ years PQE and this growth has in part been facilitated by targeted tax rates and rulings, as well as our Government’s ongoing commitment to support the development of the aviation finance and leasing industry in Ireland.


The funds market has been a highly competitive market this year with companies considering permanent, fixed-term, part-time and interim contracts so as to open their options and ensure they are being flexible within this competitive market. Current figures show that 40% of the world’s hedge funds are administered from Dublin and we have seen a large hedge fund company open its third city centre location in Dublin, which indicates the growth of its Irish operation. In-demand roles are within Internal Audit and Financial Reporting.

The Year Ahead

The financial services accountancy jobs market will continue to grow in 2017 as confidence in the market remains positive, albeit a little uncertain. Talks of a post-Brexit Financial Services boom continue, but so much remains uncertain. Brexit will have a significant impact on Ireland but we cannot predict how this will materialise. Financial Services and Accountancy firms seem to be waiting for the full impact of Brexit before fully expanding their workforce. The same rings true for the accounting professional in this sector. Overall, we have noticed an increase in accounting candidates applying through online job boards based in the UK and this, coupled with generally increasing immigration levels, shows that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is certainly a factor in candidates testing the water.


If you would like to discuss your career path in Banking & Financial Services, please contact Cliona Lyons –clyons@lincoln.ie | 01 661 0444

To view the full survey results please click here.

About the Author

Cliona Lyons

Cliona Lyons

Senior Consultant Accounting in Financial Services

clyons@lincoln.ie+353 1 661 0444

Cliona Lyons is a Senior Consultant on our Financial Services team. She has over 9 years experience working in Financial Services incorporating banking, restructuring, recovery and advisory before making the transition into recruitment. Cliona is QFA and CFP qualified and holds a Masters in Financial Services.


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