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What’s next. Is Galway the city for you?

​With over twenty years in the Irish market, Kelly has seen the business landscape change as the country capitalises on its outward approach to business investment in the country. Businesses have benefited from a skilled and dedicated talent pool in the west of the country. With over 32,000 highly skilled professionals currently employed nationwide, Ireland’s medical technologies industry is one of the largest in Europe and is recognised as a centre of excellence globally.

Galway – The place to be

Over the last number of years, Galway has become a hub for some of the largest companies within the medical devices industry in Ireland. Companies investing in the region has meant increasing levels of employment and investment to Galway and the wider region. Increasingly the city is seen as an innovation hub, one example of this is Medtronic’s facility in Galway a “Centre of Excellence” for the manufacture and development of their key medical technologies. Galway’s location and the availability of skilled professionals has allowed it to attract global companies such as Boston Scientific, Merit Medical and Creganna Medical and the talent required to work in these companies.

Furthermore, the success in Galway for companies such as Medtronic and Boston Scientific has also attracted other companies to invest in the region. In more recent, years we have seen a wave of start-up SME’s establish a base in Galway and its surrounding areas including Novate Medical and Kite Medical.

How did Galway discover its niche?

According to the Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway employs one third of the 25,000 medical devices employees in Ireland. In 2014, John Breslin, an online entrepreneur who advises some local start-ups and who is also a Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway summed up the growing medical technology space at the time as follows:

“If Ireland is Europe’s new Silicon Valley, Galway is its San Francisco” - Barry O'Sullivan

There have been a number of reasons for this expansion in the medtech sector in Galway and the West of Ireland. Firstly, the availability of skilled graduates from local colleges such as NUI Galway and GMIT which has attracted companies to establish bases in the region. NUI Galway and GMIT are part of the reason for the success of the sector and attracting graduates to remain in the city after graduating. NUI Galway is a global hub for the medtech sector and launched the CURAM Centre for Medical Research a number of years ago.

In addition, Infrastructure is no longer a problem either. The development of the motorway network with Dublin now only 2 hours away, meaning meetings with key stakeholders is no longer an issue.

Why is this happening?

The West of Ireland has always had a legacy of out-migration to the bigger cities in search of employment opportunities. Many candidates feel career opportunities are mainly in the bigger cities and surrounding hinterlands like Dublin and Cork. Perhaps there is still a perceived wisdom that Dublin is the place to be to advance in your career. This has resulted in a skills shortage in the region for skilled positions such as Process Engineers, Quality Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, R&D Engineers and Automation Engineers. Skills shortages in the region is a major concern facing companies who are looking to attract the best talent to their organisations.

Dublin vs Galway: A tale of two cities

There is no doubt that salary will play a major part in any individual’s career choice. On average salaries in Dublin tend to be higher than the rest of the country and this may be playing a part in people’s decisions on their base.  

Firstly, we need to take into account the cost of living in Galway and the surrounding areas compared to living costs in Dublin. compares the cost of living between cities across the world. It states that it costs 22% less to live in Galway versus Dublin. The primary difference here is the cost of either buying a house or renting accommodation in the west of Ireland. While salaries in Dublin may be higher, many professionals may be in a better position financially by heading west.

Is Galway for you?

Galway also has a lot to offer candidates in addition to career opportunities such as a vibrant city, events and festivals, a rich culture, the “Wild Atlantic Way” and excellent night life and entertainment venues. Galway has been selected to be the 2020 European Capital of Culture which is great for the City and wider region.

Between NUI Galway and the Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway has a whopping 22,500+ students. A young and vibrant population means there is always a great atmosphere around the place no matter what day of the week and as a graduate of NUIG myself, I can definitely vouch for the place!

With a rapidly expanding medtech sector coupled with a talent shortage for highly skilled professionals and a vibrant city full of entertainment, there is no doubt that Galway is the place to develop and grow your career at the moment.

About the author:

Originally from Athlone, Niall has been based in Galway for the past four years. Niall Curley is an Onsite HR and Recruitment Account Specialist at Kelly with extensive recruitment experience and market knowledge mainly in the Medical Device, Pharmaceutical’s and Life Science sectors focusing on the Midlands and West of Ireland. Reach out to Niall by emailing