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For most of Ireland's economy, the last few years have been dire. Food producers may have enjoyed a boost due to a widespread desire to buy domestic produce and keep money in the national economy, but in sectors like banking, the years after 2007 were very grim.

However, that was the Ireland of recession, bailouts and Fianna Fail failing to top the poll in a general election for the first time ever - a truly extraordinary period from which the country has emerged with remarkable fortitude. Indeed, more than once Ireland has been described as the 'poster boy for austerity'.

As elsewhere, the Irish banking and financial sector took a big hit and there were inevitably many job losses. But renewed economic growth means the outlook for recruits is now favourable. 

Soaring GDP

The gross domestic product figures for Ireland have been some of the best in Europe. Although there was only a 0.1 per cent expansion in the third quarter of 2014, the previous three months had seen a surge of almost three per cent, meaning the economy had grown by 7.7 per cent year-on-year.

Indeed, while the third quarter may have been flat, the EU has predicted full year growth of 4.6 per cent for 2014, with a 3.6 per cent expansion in 2015. These projections put the country ahead of every other country in the EU, even Britain - although the fact that its nearest neighbour and biggest trading partner is expected to see expansion of three per cent this year has also helped. The same cannot be said for the struggling countries on the continent. 

An improving labour market

The overall unemployment rate remained high at 10.7 per cent in November 2014, but this has been falling from a very high base. Indeed, it represented an improvement from October (10.9 per cent) and a year earlier, when it was 12.2 per cent.

More people in work means a greater number of people who have salaries being deposited in banks and greater opportunities to use banking services. These will also be needed by businesses that are expanding by taking on more staff, or creating jobs as new start-ups. 

Prospects for banking

Could increased employment be manifesting itself in more finance management jobs? The answer is indubitably yes. Indeed, jobs of all sorts across the financial sector are emerging in Dublin and elsewhere in the country at a rapid rate.

One recent example of renewed financial recruitment was the announcement by Fidelity Investments. Earlier this month it opened a second Dublin office, creating 200 new jobs across a range of roles.

Tanaiste Joan Burton and minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation Richard Bruton attended the opening ceremony.

Mr Bruton said: "I am delighted to welcome this latest announcement of a further 200 jobs [in] Ireland. International financial services is a sector we have specifically targeted as part of our Action Plan for Jobs, and we have put in place a range of measures to support extra jobs growth in this area, including the appointment of a Minister of State with specific responsibility in this area.

"In recent years we have seen jobs growth in this area, and today’s announcement is a major further boost."

Fidelity's move is just one example of how Ireland's economic recovery is translating into banking sector jobs. Now is a great time for potential candidates to step up their job search.