Working in Ireland

Ireland welcomes expats with skills in sectors such as finance, IT and healthcare. If you’re from a country outside the EU, you’ll need a work permit – these are usually only granted to high earners with jobs in established firms.

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Doing business

As an active member of the EU, Ireland is seen as a gateway to the European market, especially by multinationals looking to expand. Many of these companies have bases in Dublin, which is the country’s economic powerhouse and commercial centre.

Ireland was ranked 18th out of 190 countries in The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2017, scoring particularly well for protecting minority investors. Expats are actively recruited to address skills shortages in the Irish workforce, but the job market has been affected by the recession, and competition for work is tough.

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Business culture

Irish businesspeople tend to be eloquent, witty, eager and efficient, which makes dealing with them a pleasure.

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Management style

Most Irish companies are hierarchical and decisions are usually made at the top, although the division between managers and their teams can sometimes be blurred. Irish businesspeople are often less formal and more friendly than their European counterparts.

Relationships

Many businesses are family owned and you’ll have to earn the trust of Irish associates if you want to penetrate their established business networks. Being loud or arrogant can be met with suspicion, while great value is placed on being open, honest and direct. It’s not unusual to move to first name terms quickly, but always wait for an invitation to do so.

Meetings

Meetings can be unstructured and they’re often conducted outside the office – in a coffee shop, on the golf course or over a pint of Guinness. Establishing good rapport is important and you should allow for small talk before negotiations begin. Conversations can centre on Irish culture and sport, but avoid politics and religion. After the small talk is over, business discussions should be focused.

Humour

The Irish business culture is conservative, but jokes are often used to build rapport and avoid conflict. While you may struggle to reconcile Irish humour with the work environment, take it in the good spirit in which it’s intended.

Time

The Irish have a reputation for being shrewd negotiators. They like to follow systematic procedures and have a relaxed sense of time – so decision-making can be a slow process. Timekeeping rules differ for locals and expats. While you should always be punctual, the Irish are often late for appointments.

Fast facts

Business language

English is most commonly used in business circles.

Business hours

Usually from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Dress

Business dress is modest and conservative – executives usually wear suits and ties. Dark, subdued colours are the norm and raincoats may be necessary throughout the year.

Greeting

A firm handshake and direct eye contact is the standard business greeting.

Gifts

Gifts aren’t usually part of Irish business, but if you’re invited to a colleague’s home, take some flowers (but avoid giving red or white flowers), chocolates or a good bottle of wine or spirits.

Gender equality

Men still hold most senior positions in Ireland, but women are treated equally and the balance is slowly shifting.

Expat salaries

While expat salaries in Ireland are generally equivalent to local salaries, earning potential is high, especially in corporate environments.

Make sure there are jobs in your area of expertise before moving.

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All other content is provided by expatarrivals.com, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in June 2017. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you are aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.