Average base salaries for newly qualified accountants in Dublin rise €1,518 over in H2 2023 hitting the highest level on record at €64,482 ….

As a newly qualified accountant coming out of your training contract in Q2 2024, there are lots of things you’ll be thinking and wondering about. For many people, just like you, money is usually high on the agenda.  You have, after all, worked hard and sacrificed a lot, so it’s only fair to be compensated correctly for the value of your time.

What’s the going salary for a newly qualified accountant? What information is accurate and what can I rely on? I heard Mary got 60K and Laura got 65K – what does that mean?  How do I benchmark my salary against the going ‘rate’ out there?

…nobody wants to be short-changed.

Well, look no further…

Most salary surveys give you an average or range. But depending on the sample size, the average figure can be skewed and often doesn’t give a true reflection of the actual base salary.  And sometimes (more than you might imagine) the numbers are not based on surveys but on sentiment.  I don’t know about you but I prefer to use hard data when making big decisions that affect my life…

Over the last 12 months, across Dublin*, we’ve helped lots of newly qualified accountants make their first move after their training contract. For fun, we tracked their base salaries (yes that’s what we regard as fun here in Barden!) and created some real-time data points, just for you.  We do this every year but this time around we noticed a few anomalies – especially when we compared H1 2023 to H2 2023 figures.  There were some marked differences!

Interesting, right?  There are a couple of things that really stand out for us in the above; namely:

  • The median salary in H2 last year was 65K up from 63K in H1, with the average coming in at €64,482  up from €62,964, in H1 2023,  This is a material shift in both median and base salary and points to continued talent demand/supply challenges (high demand and soft supply) along with a possible adjustment for inflation over the period.
  • Worth noting behind the numbers is that Group accountant-type roles in Plc teams have remained constant over 2023 with all companies with this structure consistently paying €65k base salaries.
  • We continue to see evidence of base salaries in some companies going as high as 70K but these are very much outliers and only seen in larger lessor environments, high-octane investment analyst roles, and with specific companies where the niche experience brings a premium.
(*these are Dublin-only numbers.  For outside Dublin, you would typically apply a 10% reduction on base +/- 2.5 % depending on location.  For bespoke advice on salaries in your location contact one of our team below.)

Now here are the two big caveats:

#1 Base salary is only a part of Total Compensation (Base + Package) – want to know about total comp for newly qualified accountants? We asked one of our experts in Barden Dublin, Niall O’Keeffe, and he shared the following:

  • Average Bonus for Newly Qualified Accountants is 8%. (up from 6% in H1 2023)
  • 57% of companies offered Health Care.
  • The average Company Pension Contribution is 6%.
  • Average Annual Leave Days (including Company Days) is 24 days.

#2 Sometimes…people get paid a higher base for the same job in a different company. Why?  It could be that one company offers additional benefits and the other doesn’t, it could be because one role has a lot of travel and the other doesn’t, it could be that one company finds it harder to attract accountants than the other, or it could be due to a whole host of other variables.  When it comes to base salary, make sure you’re not comparing apples with oranges; ask one of our expert team in Barden first.

It should not be all about the base in your first few moves PQE. You may not have prepared a set of accounts yet, you may not have done a month-end management pack, in fact, there are probably a lot of things that you’ve yet to get practical experience in.  Your first few years PQE should really be about getting good experience working with great people…and of course, getting fairly paid while you do.

It’s not really about your base salary now; it’s about what your base salary will be in ten years’ time and for the twenty or thirty years after that. Earning follows learning, not the other way around.

If you’re curious, want to learn more, and want to base your life decisions on actual data make sure you contact Niall O’Keeffe (niall.okeeffe@barden.ie) for Leinster or Siobhán Sexton (siobhan.sexton@barden.ie) for Munster and they will take it from there.  Simple.


At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there. Easy.

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