Tech workers avoiding Ireland as rental crisis bites

Recruiters look to Berlin, Lisbon and elsewhere as Ireland’s attractiveness diminishes

Tech professionals are turning down the opportunity to move to Ireland for work because of the cost and availability of rental accommodation, according to a new report.

The rejection rate among candidates living overseas to relocating to Ireland has nearly doubled in the past year, with many deciding to either remain at home or locate to a different European city.

So pronounced is the trend away from moving to Ireland that Prosperity, a specialist Dublin-based recruitment company that focuses on hiring candidates in digital technology, has established a presence in Paris.

It is also in the process of opening satellite offices in Berlin and Lisbon to cater for candidates working in areas such as software engineering, front-end development, digital content and advertising, UI design, data analytics and web usability.


Gary Mullan, managing director of Prosperity, said Ireland's digital and tech sectors are heavily reliant on talent from abroad as they cannot be sustained by the indigenous skills base.

However, the company, which typically recruits about 40 per cent of candidates from overseas, said the lack and cost of accommodation locally was leading many tech professionals to reject Ireland in favour of other destinations.

“The reliance of local demand on international supply in now being jeopardised by the increasing cost of living here; in particular the cost and availability of rental accommodation,” said Mr Mullan.

“Whereas in 2016 and preceding years we had a rejection rate of approximately 15 per cent on job offers to candidates living abroad, by the third quarter of 2017 that has doubled to nearer 30 per cent. Time and again, candidates from abroad have cited an internet search on the cost and availability of accommodation in Dublin (and the many associated horror stories) as their reason for rejecting a job offer,” he added.

Dublin rents

Mr Mullan’s comments come as figures published by earlier this year show market rents in Dublin are now 66 per cent higher than at their lowest point. The national average rent was €1,131 at the end of the first quarter, with rents in the capital rising faster than elsewhere, as the average monthly cost of accommodation in the city centre hit €1,690.

At the same time there were fewer than 3,100 properties available to rent nationwide on May 1st, the lowest number on record.

Publishing its latest salary survey, Prosperity said salaries in the European digital and tech sectors often closely mirror those paid in Ireland, but the cost of living elsewhere can be markedly cheaper.

Mr Mullan said that, anecdotally, he was hearing from clients that foreign nationals are increasingly quitting good jobs in Dublin to move to cheaper rental markets.

“This loss of talent exacerbates the ongoing skills shortage in the Irish market,” he said

The digital technology sector is estimated to contribute 4.4 per cent to Ireland’s GDP, and is growing at 16 per cent per year – that is more than 10 times the rate of growth of the economy as a whole.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist