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Collins McNicholas Releases 2021 Salary Guide

  • Publish Date: Posted about 3 years ago
  • Author:by Niall Murray

Welcome to the Collins McNicholas 2021 Salary Guide. In what has been an unprecedented twelve months, we are now presenting an in-depth review of salaries across various employment sectors nationwide, encompassing over 250 job titles across nine sectors and covering eight regional locations (Dublin, South, South East, Midlands, Midwest, West, North West and North East).



The information compiled in this guide uses the salary levels provided by our clients and candidates for the first three months of 2021. We collected salary data from over 5,000 candidates, who were newly registered on our database and combined this data with salary figures provided by our clients for over 450 jobs that we recruited for between January and March 2021. The results presented in this document give a current and accurate list of salary ranges across the regions of Ireland.

“As a nation, we have gotten back to basics and seen the value of what is really important.”

Salary Guide

Salaries – Market Trends

Salary levels have certainly plateaued in most sectors over the past twelve months, and from our research, it seems that salaries will remain consistent during 2021 with many companies considering salary increases perhaps when business levels have fully stabilised. There have been a number of business sectors performing positively throughout the pandemic, including Pharma, MedTech, Healthcare, ICT and Security/Cyber. The Life Sciences sector continues to thrive, with many of the Irish manufacturing sites taking the lead in re-evaluating the new way of working, so agility was undoubtedly a key outcome within this sector. We may see a slight uplift in the hourly rates of those companies where employees have been financially incentivised because of the risks of COVID-19, ensuring no disruption to manufacturing timelines. “As a nation, we have gotten back to basics and seen the value of what is really important.”


As highlighted last year, the exposure to progression and growth opportunities are important at every stage of one’s career. However, there has been a definite demand for benefits with a focus on security when it comes to long-term career prospects. Every organisation has seen a shift towards flexibility to work from home, and this will settle in the form of a ‘hybrid solution’ for many organisations, but the employment law considerations in this area have yet to be tested. Financial benefits continue to be important, but more of a shift from base salary and bonus to an emphasis on the employee insurances in place. In particular, healthcare benefits offered by companies and the employee supports offered by all the healthcare providers with Employee Assistance Programs and Wellness Calendars are proving important to candidates when weighing up job offers. Pensions are starting to come into focus as there will be some form of auto-enrolment in the near future, and COVID-19 has given employees that ‘headspace’ to actually focus on their roadmap to retirement. The pandemic has also brought huge focus on work-life balance and a step away from the ‘always on’ requirement, which seemed to be custom and practice for some organisations. As a nation, we have gotten back to basics and seen the value of what is really important. As a new code of practice around the ‘right to disconnect’ has been signed off in April 2021 this ensures that employees are entitled to ‘switch off’ from their jobs outside of normal working hours, including not having to respond immediately to emails, telephone calls or other messages again enabling employees to really focus on getting their work-life balance in sync.

“employers now have to ensure that they stand out as an ‘employer of choice’, which means they are offering excellent compensation packages, growth opportunities and a long-term career prospect.”

Skills Shortages

We had noted previously that skills shortages in certain disciplines would certainly continue during COVID-19 and this remains a key challenge in areas such as quality, validation, R&D and specialist science sectors. Candidates are remaining passive and before even considering a move they are completing their due diligence to ensure they have reviewed the opportunities thoroughly. The opportunity to source talent internationally was challenged by the arrival of the pandemic, so employers now have to ensure that they stand out as an ‘employer of choice’, which means they are offering excellent compensation packages, growth opportunities and a long-term career prospect. There has certainly been an increase in contracting opportunities across a range of sectors including ICT, Life Sciences and Engineering. For many businesses, considering the contractor route will present many benefits, including allowing them to scale up quickly and benefit from specific niche skills which may be required during a time of growth. For the contractors, the opportunity to work on exciting projects will benefit their skillset for years to come. Experienced contractors can bring new levels of expertise and innovation to a business which will have a knock-on effect on other employees working on that particular project.


Collins McNicholas continues to review trends and changes in the market so we can share our insights with our clients, customers and key stakeholders. Our nationwide footprint allows us to make insightful commentary across these regions as we see trends take shape and changes happening within each sector. The purpose of this salary guide is to provide a detailed and accurate account of salaries available across every region of Ireland and a broad range of sectors. We are confident that this guide will prove a useful tool for both companies and professionals in Ireland but also those considering Ireland as a future location for their career or to set up a business.

Download our 2021 Salary Guide for free here:​

Download Salary Guide

Niall Murray - Managing Director, Collins McNicholas
Niall Murray
​Managing Director

If you have any queries regarding the information provided in this guide, please contact me at: