IT contractor rates rose by up to 25 percent in some areas since 2018, according to Harvey Nash Ireland’s quarterly Market Watch report.

Compared to the average Irish salary, which grew by 4 percent in the same period, IT contractor rates have flourished, rising five times faster. 

Report Highlights

The table below shows a noticeable variance between contractor rates. Even for specific skills and roles, there can be a significant difference between lower and upper rates, reflecting the spectrum of companies competing for such talented individuals and their respective levels of experience.

Role Average Per day rate
Interim C level €1,250 – €1,750
Mobile Architects €700 – €850
Development (Software & Engineering) €500 – €600
Architect €700 – €800
Project Manager €550 – €600
Business Analyst €500- €550
Scrum Masters €600 – €700
Cloud Engineers €550 – €650
DevOps Engineers €600 – €700
User Focused Roles €500 – €600

Alongside traditional growth areas such as software developers, the growing need for Scrum Masters and Project Managers has been highlighted as just some of the top in-demand IT positions in Ireland in 2019.

Large Demand, Little Supply

18,000 Irish technology jobs were created in 2018. Another 4000 technology jobs have already been announced this year. With 50,500 more people at work in Ireland, unemployment now sits at a post-crash low of 5.3 percent.  Paired with the continued migration of tech professionals from permanent positions to the gig economy, in pursuit of larger day rates, this suggests this unrelenting tech demand is likely to continue.

Gavin Fox, Director at Harvey Nash Ireland, comments, “So long as the fight for top tech talent is waged around remuneration, we can expect contractor rates to continue to soar.” 

Such rate hikes pose a significant risk to small and indigenous businesses, as they price themselves out of the market, losing out to larger competitors.

Mr Fox continues, “Businesses need to think creatively about how they acquire talent. Resorting to larger pay packs is simply unsustainable. We need to take a longer term, strategic approach to tech talent centred around purpose, innovation, and culture.”

Striking a balance is difficult. Long term, upskilling of existing staff for in-demand roles could resolve companies’ tech woes, but the need to tackle pressing issues currently outweighs long-term demands.

Post-Brexit Opportunities

A more immediate solution to the tech talent squeeze has come from an unlikely source. While much of the media frenzy around Brexit has highlighted Ireland’s potential to benefit from UK businesses moving to the island after the March deadline, a less talked about, but equally important trend, has been the movement of skilled talent.

Deterred by the UK’s departure from the EU and controversial regulatory measures such as IR35, UK applications for Irish job roles jumped 34 percent in 2018, with an astounding 47 percent leap in IT applications.

Increasing contractor day rates is one thing, but Mr. Fox remarks, “Irish businesses should ensure their tech roles prove attractive if UK talent is to be enticed across the Irish Sea post-Brexit”.

While Dublin continues its meteoric rise as a tech hub, UK contractors may not be enticed by the city lights, instead seeking the flexibility of remote working arrangements. Understanding and implementing these benefits logistically could be vital to successfully lure this talent to Ireland.

Adequate preparation for a post-Brexit UK contractor surge cannot be understated. A coordinated talent attraction procedure is a key way forward for Irish businesses seeking to solve their tech talent shortage in 2019 and beyond.

If you would like to download the full report, please follow the link:


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