Ireland is known for attracting talent from all over the world due to its thriving economy, job opportunities, and a great, welcoming culture. Only a handful of countries can rival Ireland as a destination that attracts talent.  

Although it is unlikely that Ireland will experience a brain drain in the coming years, certain locations are successfully enticing workers from Ireland with attractive opportunities.  

Increase in Irish people leaving the country. Source: Migrant Project IE 

In this blog post, we have conducted in-depth research to uncover the preferred destinations of Irish workers in their pursuit of new opportunities and the compelling factors behind their decision-making. 

The findings presented in this article are based on data obtained from LinkedIn Talent Insights, offering information on over 800 million professionals worldwide and our own expertise as leading player in the recruitment space for the last 24 years. 

Top 5 countries gaining talent from Ireland  

England (London) 

One important aspect that has remained intact post-Brexit is the Common Travel Area agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland. It allows British and Irish citizens to freely move and reside in either jurisdiction, enjoying a range of associated rights and privileges. These include the right to work, study, and vote in certain elections, as well as access to social welfare benefits and healthcare services. 

In the past year alone, 1815 professionals have moved across the Irish Sea to seek careers in London. Despite Brexit and the changes it brought upon, England continues to attract a significant number of Irish professionals.  

The lure of higher wages and a broader variety of jobs and opportunities make England an appealing destination. The strong job market, particularly in sectors such as finance, technology, and research, presents Irish individuals with attractive prospects for career advancement. Additionally, the cultural similarities, shared language, and proximity between Ireland and England make the transition relatively seamless for those considering a move. 

Australia (Sydney, Melbourne) 

According to the data obtained from LinkedIn Talent Insights, Australia has emerged as the second-largest importer of Irish talent. The country, with Sydney leading the way, followed by Melbourne, has witnessed a significant influx of skilled professionals from Ireland, with over 1500 Irish employees finding opportunities in Australia

Several factors contribute to Australia's appeal as a destination for Irish talent. The country boasts a strong economy with diverse industries, providing a wide range of employment prospects across various sectors. Additionally, Australia has implemented favourable immigration policies that facilitate the entry of skilled professionals. Programs such as the Skilled Independent Visa and the Temporary Skill Shortage visa enable Irish talents to explore career opportunities in Australia and potentially transition to permanent residency. 

Canada (Vancouver) 

Canada, and in particular, Vancouver, is the third top location draining talent from Ireland. The city attracted nearly 800 professionals in the last year alone.  

Canada has a significant Irish diaspora and a history of Irish immigration. Irish people may feel a sense of cultural connection and familiarity in Canada due to shared heritage and traditions. Moreover, Canada's strong economy and job market are evident as its economy has now grown to 103 percent of its pre-pandemic size. Irish individuals may seek better employment prospects and higher wages in Canada, especially if they are facing limited opportunities or economic challenges in Ireland. 

United States (New York, Austin) 

Based on the insights derived from LinkedIn Talent Insights, it is revealed that in the previous year, a substantial number of approximately 700 Irish workers relocated to the US, with New York emerging as the primary destination, followed by Austin. New York City has long been a hub of economic activity, offering a wide range of job opportunities across different sectors. Moreover, there is a long historical tie between Ireland and New York, dating back to the 19th century. During that time, Ireland experienced economic hardship and political unrest, leading many Irish people to seek a new life in America. This historical connection has continued to influence Irish migration patterns, with New York being a popular destination. Lastly, New York is home to many prestigious universities and research institutions. Irish individuals may move to New York to pursue higher education or engage in research collaborations, taking advantage of the city's academic resources. 

Spain (Barcelona) 

Over the past year, 530 Irish citizens have relocated to Barcelona. The city is renowned for accommodating many expats, thanks to its pleasant Mediterranean climate and central location in Europe, which makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding regions. The city offers promising prospects in various industries such as technology, tourism, finance, and international business. 

Top destinations for Irish emigrants

Top destinations for Irish emigrants. Source: Statista.  


In conclusion, while it is evident that Irish professionals are seeking new opportunities abroad, Ireland itself is not facing a significant threat of brain drain. The country continues to attract talent from all over the world due to its thriving economy, job prospects, and welcoming culture. The findings from our research indicate that the top five countries importing talent from Ireland are England, Australia, Canada, the United States, and Spain.  

These destinations offer various advantages, such as higher wages, diverse job markets, favourable immigration policies, cultural connections, and educational opportunities. Irish individuals are enticed by the prospects of career advancement, better employment opportunities, and an improved quality of life. 

While some Irish professionals may choose to explore opportunities abroad, it is essential to recognize that this mobility contributes to a diverse global talent pool and fosters international collaborations. Ireland's strong economic prospects, coupled with its supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, position the country well to retain and attract talent in the long term. 


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by Natalia Dercz