IDA reports 5,000 new jobs in six months as Ireland gains competitiveness

12 Jul 2012

IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O'Leary

Ireland’s development agency IDA Ireland revealed this morning that more than 5,000 new jobs were created in the first six months of 2012 in the face of mounting global competition. Falling office rents, energy prices and labour costs are playing a key role.

The agency said this morning that an increase in capital intensive projects will provide a boost to the local construction industry.

The 2012 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook placed Ireland at No 1 in the world for skilled labour.

IDA’s 2011 Annual Report, released today, shows there are now almost 146,000 people working directly in more than 1,000 IDA client companies. The year 2011 saw the creation of more than 13,000 new jobs with the best net jobs increase since 2002 of more than 6,000. The agency said these results position IDA to achieve its 2010-2014 targets as outlined in IDA’s Horizon 2020 strategy.

The 5,000 jobs announced are in a range of sectors, including IT, life sciences, digital media and international financial services. The investments have been won despite a notable increase in competition from other jurisdictions and the challenging global economic environment. Among the companies announcing the largest projects were PayPal, Apple and Mylan.

There has been a notable increase in capital intensive projects in recent times, particularly in the pharmaceutical and ICT areas. A number of recent investments have commenced or will shortly commence, leading to the construction of more than 1,500,000 sq feet of new buildings, giving a much-needed boost to the construction industry.

Despite the global challenge of patent expiry in the pharmaceutical sector, Ireland continues to perform strongly in the sector, targeting both the pharmaceutical and the biopharmaceutical segments, in particular. Recent announcements have included Eli Lilly, Amgen, Allergan, Mylan and Abbott.

IDA is confident of securing, in the medium-term, significant investments that will require large-scale office space. While there is currently an adequate supply of office space in the Dublin area, the property sector needs to start planning for future demand. Availability of suitable modern office space, of scale, is strategically important for winning substantial projects. IDA has already held discussions with NAMA on providing solutions to meet this future demand.

Challenging headwinds facing Ireland

However, despite the robust performance, IDA Ireland CEO Barry O’Leary sounded a cautious tone for the coming year.

“There are challenging headwinds facing IDA and Ireland, with little growth in European demand, moderate growth in the US and a slowdown in the economies of China and India.

“Due to a lack of domestic demand and budget deficits, many countries are ramping up their attempts to attract inward investment.

“However, IDA remains optimistic that Ireland can continue to win significant FDI, building on our strong track record. IDA targets a number of sectors that will continue to grow, even in a globally challenging environment. These include IT/technology, digital media and life sciences.

“Even in areas of low or no growth, opportunities will arise in sectors such as the consolidation of technology and operations hubs in global financial institutions and consolidation of operations in a number of other sectors.

“IDA is in its third consecutive year of employment growth in its portfolio. IDA is energised, committed and focused on continuing to grow employment in coming years,” O’Leary said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years