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A Survey of Contracting in Ireland

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In case you missed it, last month Trinity College Dublin and Contracting PLUS published a report on the contribution that high skilled contractors make on employment and the economy in Ireland. This was the largest study of its kind conducted in Ireland, with 1,458 valid responses from contractors and their clients. In this article, we will recap the most important findings from Ireland’s Project Economy for your convenience.



  • The average (and also median) age for a contractor was found to be 46 years old with 70% of respondents being over 40.
  • Older contractors are able to remain active in the workforce longer than employees.
  • 95% of the contractors who responded to the survey have third level education.
  • 80% of their work is carried out for private sector organisations.
  • 75% are men although women are a fast-growing share of this segment.
  • Their average working experience is 8 years.
  • 54% of participants carried out their work in Dublin and 22% in Cork. 


Getting Work

  • One’s own network for work and recruiters are the main ways to find new work.
  • The average time spent looking for a new contract was 5 weeks.
  • The average contract length is 14 months.

… and now you have to help get you work ;)


  • Job satisfaction levels amongst high skilled contractors are higher than typical employees.
  • Job satisfaction is at 80% on average for contractors.
  • The work itself gained the highest satisfaction rating coming in at 84%. Lowest was satisfaction with work/life balance coming in at 75%.
  • Independent professionals typically take less days off than their permanent counterparts, taking 17 days on average.
  • 60% said that COVID-19 Lockdowns had a negative effect on their mental health. 52% said that it had no effect on the volume of work they received. 
  • 64% believed that the contracting sector in Ireland would increase in the next 3-5 years.
  • 76% of contractors intend to continue in this career over the foreseeable future.



  • The average contract rate was an average of €501 per day.
  • The average day rate in Finance is €589. The average day rate in Pharma is €452. 
  • In 2020 they earned an average income of €109,066 
  • They generally earn roughly 58% more than the earnings of equivalent employees. 
  • The pay gap between men and women is much less amongst high skilled contractors than it is amongst employees. 
  • Almost two thirds of independent professionals use an Umbrella Company to administer their contract.


Jimmy Sheehan of Contracting PLUS who commissioned the survey summaries “Professional contracting is here to stay. It creates employment. It drives GDP growth. It offers flexibility in work to those who need it”. Here here! 

Contracting PLUS was founded to provide Umbrella Companies and Accounting & Tax services exclusively to independent professional contractors.

The survey was carried out by Andrew Burke who is Dean of Trinity Business School and the Chair of Business Studies assisted by Na Fu (PhD) and Tam Nguyen. For more information go to

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