New research reveals over half saw a pay increase last year with almost 70% in IT and Analytics now benefiting from flexible working

With strong FDI investment and expanding home-grown businesses in competition for top professional talent, new research shows Northern Ireland technology companies are delivering increasingly competitive workplace packages including salary increases, flexible working, bonuses and professional membership.

A regional Salary Survey Report from Abacus Professional Recruitment revealed that 58% of professional technology employees received a pay rise in 2018; one of the highest percentages across the professional services landscape.

Of those working in analytics, 64% experienced a pay increase in 2017 compared to 55% of those working as software developers. Over 80% of analytics department heads received an increase.

Approximately 43% of professionals now avail of flexible working in NI, with the analytics and software sectors leading in this area with an average of almost 70% working flexibly. Flexible working includes working from home, receiving time in lieu for working overtime and flexible working around contracted hours. Additionally, over 60% of those in the technology sector surveyed received a bonus last year.

Salary survey data from 200 technology professionals indicates continued market growth in 2017. Salary expectations are high within this expanding sector with 82% of technology employees expecting a basic pay increase in 2018.

The salary survey highlighted significant differences between the pay of Analytics Department Heads, Technology Managers and Analysts. Salaries of Analytics Department Heads in NI significantly increased to an average of £82,455. They earned 197% more than Analysts and 83% more than Technology Managers.

Average salaries for software developers ranged from £20,606 for software developers at entry level, £29,637 for intermediary software developers with 5+ years of experience and £45,645 for senior software developers working in NI.

Commenting, Justin Rush, Director at leading local recruitment company Abacus Professional Recruitment, said: “Demand is peaking for professionals across the technology sector and the benefits they are receiving have risen in tandem. As Belfast is the Cyber-Security capital of the world, there is an increasingly rich diversity of IT job roles in Northern Ireland. These offer not only competitive salaries, but highly rewarding career paths with companies also investing significantly in skills development. Benefits in Northern Ireland are moving towards cities like London or Dublin, emphasising how the local employment market is progressing at a fast pace, despite current political concerns, including Brexit and a lack of Executive.

“However, as demand is beginning to outstrip supply, the IT sector is concerned about skills shortages and the so-called ‘brain-drain’, and what the market can do to avoid it. In our view, IT businesses must be aware of the needs and desires of the talent emerging from our educational establishments including schools, colleges and universities, so that young people can realise their career aspirations without leaving NI. We have invested in international initiatives such as ‘Belfast for Life’ to encourage the diaspora community to return home to take up the competitive opportunities here.”

Jemma Simpson, Senior IT & Analytics Recruitment Consultant at Abacus Professional Recruitment said, “The technology sector in Northern Ireland is fast becoming an area of strong professional growth. With an increase in company competition within the IT sector, high salary roles are available to candidates on the market with the desired skill sets. SQL, AWS, Blockchain, Salesforce, Sharepoint and Cloud are important requirements for candidates to excel in 2018.”

The survey encompassed 1,000 employees across 20 professional service disciplines such as law, accountancy, IT, sales, analytics, financial services, insurance, compliance, office support, HR and marketing.

In addition to investing in research and international diaspora initiatives, Abacus is hosting Northern Ireland’s largest talent and engagement summit on the 14th June at Belfast Waterfront. Powered By Talent is a first-of-its-kind event, bringing together businesses from the professional services sector to highlight best practice in the attraction, development and retention of a company’s main asset, its people. For more information or to book tickets visit

To view the full salary results, visit or contact one of the Abacus team.

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