New data protection laws create ‘hive of activity’ in Irish jobs market

Recruiter Azon says there are currently over 400 job openings in GDPR in Ireland

Companies across Europe are rushing to recruit data protection specialists ahead of the introduction of new and far-reaching regulations, with up to 400 jobs openings in Ireland alone.

According to recruitment specialist Azon, the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May has created a "hive of activity" in the Irish jobs market.

Launching its latest salary survey for 2018, the company said there are 26,000 job vacancies in GDPR across Europe with the number set to rise as firms realise the ramifications of the new rules.

They require agencies and companies processing large amounts of personal data to have independent data protection officers.


They also give regulators the power to impose fines of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of turnover on organisations that have been subject to data breaches and that fail to respond adequately.

Skills shortage

“The overriding issue is that there is a huge skills shortage in this area because it’s brand new,” Azon associate director Ed Rossiter said.

“GDPR is going to affect all companies across all industries, and what’s getting our clients’ attention is the huge fines that could be imposed if they’re not compliant,” he said.

Mr Rossiter said successful GDPR candidates were also getting above-the-market salaries because their roles were so specialist.

In its report, Azon said skill shortages in several sectors, including emerging technologies, GDPR and financial services, was likely to heighten the “war on talent” in the coming year.

It also noted that about 20 per cent of its placements were Irish ex-pats coming home to take up jobs in banking and financial services, with the sector buoyed by a resurgent economy and the flight of business from London in the wake of Brexit.

It predicted professional salaries would grow by 5-10 per cent as firms focused on retaining key personnel.

With Ireland hosting nine out of 10 of the world’s largest tech giants, technology would also continue to drive employment in 2018, it said, noting that the near €1 billion raised by technology start-ups in 2016 was likely to have increased last year. There was also likely to be jobs growth in several other sectors, including insurance, legal, construction and pharmaceutical.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times