How Strong are Northern Ireland’s Technology Salaries?

With Tech Nation 2017 recently announcing Belfast as a “half-billion pound industry” and research showing that there was £6.8bn invested in the UK by technology companies in 2016, just how much of that investment is going towards salaries in the local IT and Tech sectors, and how strong are we performing in the face of Brexit?

Alan Braithwaite, Director of Abacus Professional Recruitment in Belfast, shared their regional Salary Survey Report, released in April 2017 and explains how we’re faring in comparison to the rest of the UK:

Salaries for the technology sector here in Northern Ireland continue to perform strongly in the face of the uncertainties presented by the UK’s exit from the European Union.

That’s partly due to ongoing inward investments which has boosted the local economy and resulted in the growth and diversity of job roles. Enhanced remuneration packages within both FDI firms and home-grown businesses also continue to increase the attractiveness of the region to live and work for both local job seekers and the diaspora community looking to return home.

We collated salary survey data from 100 respondents working across a variety of professional roles in the technology sector. Roles surveyed include head of departments, tech managers, analysts, tech leads and senior software developers.

Of those working in analytics and software development, 68% experienced a pay increase in 2016 compared to 62% of those working as software developers.

Almost all (95%) of tech managers received an increase with 85% receiving bonuses. High levels of bonuses are linked to factors such as employers promoting benefits to attract the best talent.

Expectations are also high within these high growth sectors with 90% of those working in analytics and software development and 88% of software developers expecting a basic pay increase in 2017.

Average salaries for respondents within analytics and software development ranged from £30,654 for analysts, £46,407 for tech managers and £69,722 for head of departments working in Northern Ireland.

Average salaries for software developers ranged from £29,125 for software developers with 0-4 years of experience, £37,675 for senior software developers with 5+ years of experience and £49,444 for tech leads working in Northern Ireland.

The results indicated that flexible working arrangements are prevalent within both industries in an effort to retain skills and experience, with approximately 81% availing of this benefit.

We’ve found that there is an increasing demand for workers in the technology sector, particularly for entry level analysts, as businesses seek to grow their operations here.

Demand for technology skills such as SAS, SPSS and experience such as ios, scala and python is on the rise.

However attracting returners from the national and international labour pool remains a key challenge.

Alongside organisations including InvestNI and over 20 global companies involved in our ‘Belfast for Life’ diaspora initiative, we have significantly invested in efforts to encourage professionals to return home to take up opportunities here.  With lifestyle often the key consideration, the expansion of professional roles being offered, alongside improved salaries and benefits, is enabling great progress in tackling the so-called ‘brain drain’.

As the post-referendum picture and economic situation in NI continues to evolve, it is more important than ever that we showcase the attractiveness of Northern Ireland. Feedback from clients who have invested in NI in recent years has indicated a positive experience with recruiting employees from across the EU and they are keen to ensure the flow of suitably qualified candidates in the future.

To view the full salary results for the technology sectors, visit

Find out more about the latest research and developments in Northern Ireland’s Tech sector at Digital DNA 2017 coming this June 6-7 to St George’s Market Belfast. Get your pass now!