From Johannesburg to Dublin

Brianneé McGrath


From Johannesburg to Dublin

I am Brianneé McGrath and I joined EY Dublin’s Financial Services Assurance practice a little over two years ago.  I previously worked at another Big 4 firm in Johannesburg.

Why Ireland?

I always thought of Ireland as more of a holiday destination on my bucket list and never really thought about working and living there permanently. However, when I received a call from a recruiter at EY Ireland, who invited me for an interview, I thought, ‘well what have I got  to lose? I went for the interview and got an offer to join the EY Dublin office. I was still somewhat sceptical, but started doing some research. 

I found a few interesting facts that made me realise that this place was way more than a holiday destination, but rather a major player on the world stage for financial services. Dublin is a major global hub for fund administration, aircraft leasing, insurance and a range of wholesale banking activities.

A few other factors I considered was the fact that there’s no language barrier as Ireland is an English speaking country and I can get to anywhere in Europe within a couple of hours.

Since being here I have found a lot more reasons to choose Ireland over and over again. 

  1. First and foremost, the safety in Ireland is amazing. As a girl living here on my own it’s great to know that I can go out for a couple of pints and walk home at 11PM and not have to look over my shoulder. 
  2. The Public Transport is great for getting around town and also visiting the country side during the weekends. 
  3. Our culture in South Africa is very similar to that of the Irish. Family and friends are very important to the Irish and like us they are also very hospitable!

Why EY Ireland

Coming from another Big 4 firm in South Africa I expected that it would be a major culture shock moving firms. However the EY team in Dublin helped me settle in very quickly.  They made time to explain the commonly used EY acronyms to me a couple of times! The gist of the work remains the same, in the end we’re auditing and with our training in South Africa we’re quite good at that.

EY Ireland places a lot of focus on People.  There is a major focus on work-life balance. There will obviously be times in busy season that you have to put in the extra hours, but this is the exception and not the rule.  The greatest thing for me is that I can leave my laptop in the office in the evenings and over the weekends and not give work a second thought when I leave the building.  The People focus is also evident in the progression opportunities in EY Ireland. The business is growing rapidly and with this comes great opportunities to progress. No distinction is made between local employees and expats for progression opportunities. If you work hard and do your part you will be recognised.

EY Ireland also offers a host of benefits which makes it even more attractive to work here. This includes free membership to gyms, contribution to medical aid and pension funds, travel passes, bike to work scheme, phones and phone contracts to name a few.

Would I make the move all over again?

Absolutely! Sure, there are times when you miss the people back home, but with modern day technology, everyone is just a phone call away.  The fact that the time difference is very little also helps with keeping in touch. The move to Ireland has been the best decision I’ve made and if given a second chance I would make it again tomorrow.

Interested in making the move? Find out more and how to apply here 

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