Jim Power

Economist, Author & Lecturer at UCD’s Smurfit Business School

Sharing the power of economics as a tool to improve quality of life for all


Well-known Irish economist Jim Power is a popular speaker and an advisor to both corporates and SMEs, as well as co-hosting the popular economic podcast, ‘The Other Hand’. Jim helps people to see economics as a ‘social science’—driven more by human behaviour than data—so that they can use economic trends to make better decisions and enjoy greater success.  

Key Messages

Jim believes that economics impacts everything. Politics, policy, how much money we earn—these are just the start. Economics is also very closely linked to health, both physical and mental. In the current world, economics’ role is no longer to forecast the future with certainty. Rather, it’s about economic insights that help us make choices that improve quality of life. In his talks, Jim not only looks at what the economic and financial environment might look like, he also elaborates on shifting forces and influences such as politics, demographics and, increasingly, climate change. 

More recently he has been talking about the importance of brand. In a world where disruptive forces can cause rapid changes, companies need a strong brand presence if they are to succeed, as customers are more likely to remain loyal even when price fluctuates. 

Background and early career

Originally from Waterford, and from a farming background, Jim studied Economics and Politics at UCD before completing a Master’s in Economics at the same university.  From there he moved to AIB, to work in its planning and strategy unit and also in its dealing room, and from there to the dealing room in Bank of Ireland, where he was promoted to director.

Finding that management responsibilities constrained his ability to ‘do’ economics as freely and productively as he wanted, in 2000 he left to establish a thriving portfolio career that from 2001-19 included being Chief Economist at Friends First and now encompasses lecturing, consultancy and broadcast and writing work, as well as a busy speaking schedule.   

Jim’s independence, expertise and wide-ranging experience mean that he serves on many boards, so can speak to any industry. For example, he was Chairman of Love Irish Food 2010-20 and is now a director of the organisation, which educates on the benefits for businesses of supporting Irish food brands.

He was also Chairman of 3RockCapital for five years until January 2020 when they were bought out, and served as Director of Agri Aware for 10 years until three years ago.  


You may want to go deeper into a topic for your audience. The keynote topics can be tailored and developed to suit your audience needs, be it a 90-minute Masterclass, a half-day or full-day workshop or a full online or face-to-face programme. Please contact one of our expert team to discuss.

Business –  the Power of the Brand
Having a strong brand presence is more important than ever in a world of growing disruption, fragmentation and uncertainty. In this talk looking at both the macro and micro pictures, Jim explores the influences and forces that brands are subject to and shaped by, and offers guidance on how businesses and organisations can build a strong brand presence that generates loyalty and trust even through difficult times.

EconomicsRebuilding the Irish Economy
What sectors will be instrumental in rebuilding the Irish economy post-pandemic?  And within those sectors, what do businesses need to do to be part of the rebuilding process? After 2011, the rebuilding happened much quicker than people expected. There were winners and losers, on a big scale.  What does this mean for the current scenario? Staff retention and quality is paramount. How can you configure the profile of your staff to deal with the new realities? In this talk, Jim looks at what companies need to consider if they are to play their part in rebuilding Ireland’s post-Covid economy.

EconomicsThe current and future ‘Mega Trends’ to watch out for
Jim explains the dynamics and characteristics of the big trends that will shape business into the future.

Inequality is a growing problem, increasingly influencing everything. It’s a threat to the world and political stability, and political elites need to address it. In the future, for example, Jim believes, Universal Basic Income will become an increasingly debated global topic. 

Climate change is a disruptive force that affects us all. Politically it’s divisive and, in Ireland, often a partisan issue. In this talk, Jim explores the universal effects it will have on business if we fail to tackle it, and looks at some of the actions that industries can take to adapt to the new realities.

SMEs comprise over 98% of business in Ireland, yet are often neglected in favour of FDI.  Ireland has a problem with concentration density, with a few big companies dominating everything. What would happen if they go? In this talk, Jim highlights SMEs’ contribution to the economy and explores how SMEs are affected by existing policy and how we can use policy differently to help them.  What are the opportunities that HE sees in the speaking market?

Working from Home (WFH) is a big deal now, especially post-Covid. What has happened? And what are the implications for the next year?  Businesses need to think about what they’re going to do about the workplace of the future. This has implications for the economy.  

And how does WFH affect consumer behaviour – is bricks and mortar dead? Covid has accelerated the move to shopping online by about 5 years.  What are the implications of this for retail and everything else?

The Global corporate tax reform agenda.  With a new U.S. president in office, what will it look like? In a globalised world, national decisions and policy can have a strong influence even thousands of miles away.  

Regional economic development. Here, Jim explores what drives local economies and how Ireland can build a rich and diverse economy that spreads success more equally across the country. 




His first book ‘Picking up the Pieces’ was published by Blackhall in November 2009.


“I would like to thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule to present to Munster CPA, it is very much appreciated. The talk was excellent, it was very interesting and we had some very good feedback from our members on it. I look forward to working with you in due course.”
Cormac Fitzgerald, Chairman Munster CPA Society

“On behalf of Fitzgerald and Partners, I would like to thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule to present at our breakfast briefing. The feedback has been very positive from the event and your presentation was very well received. We look forward to working with you in the future.”
Cormac Fitzgerald, CPA, Fitzgerald and Partners

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