Ireland’s inward investment agency IDA Ireland has revealed that 15,012 jobs were created during 2014. Total employment in IDA client firms now stands at 174,488, the highest level on record.
There were 197 investments in 2014, equaling a 20pc increase on 2013.
Taking into account job losses of 7,881 a record 7,131 net jobs were added by multinational companies supported by IDA in 2014.
The State agency said that there was a notable rise in new name investment, with 88 new name investors in 2014, equating to a 13pc increase on 2013.
A considerable number of the new job gains were in the digital media/content, ICT, international financial services, life sciences and business services areas.
Among the leading investments secured during the year were Amazon, Bristol Myers Squibb, Fidelity, LinkedIn, Survey Monkey, AirBnb, PayPal, Ericsson, SAP, Johnson & Johnson, West Pharmaceuticals, Zendesk, Adroll and New Relic.
“Our focus at IDA is real jobs, real companies and real economic impact and in that context 2014 was a very successful year,” IDA Ireland’s recently appointed CEO Martin Shanahan said.
“While the direct jobs created are of course welcome, we are seeing noticeable gains for the wider domestic economy from the investments made by overseas companies we work with.
“IDA Ireland would like to thank key stakeholders, including An Taoiseach, Government Ministers, specifically the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and his department officials, our sister agencies and Ireland’s embassy network for their assistance during the year.
“Most crucially of all, we would like to thank all the companies who created employment during 2014 in a diverse range of industries, which allowed IDA to meet its own targets, as set down in the Action Plan for Jobs. I would also like to thank the IDA staff for their dedication, professionalism and strong work ethic which has helped to deliver the strong results for 2014,” Shanahan said.
IDA Ireland estimated that for every 10 jobs generated by foreign direct investment (FDI), another seven are generated in the wider economy.
It is estimated that approximately 10,000 people are currently employed on construction projects underway with IDA client companies, providing a considerable economic boost to the sector and the wider economy.
IDA said that this secondary economic impact is of vital importance, as it provides an overall balance to the contribution FDI makes to the wider economy.
Local communities and sub-contracting firms are particular beneficiaries of this activity, it pointed out.
2014 saw a much improved year for regional dispersal with 37pc of investments going to outside Dublin and Cork, the best performance since the current strategy got underway and up on the 30pc recorded in the previous year.
The IDA said that it faces a challenge in terms of investors’ global preference for cities of scale with 1m-plus populations, significant challenges from lower cost locations in the UK and Eastern Europe and attractive regional aid.
No doubt this trend skews investor preference towards locations in Dublin.
However, the agency pointed out, high quality investments were won in many regional locations during the year. For example there were investments announced from Jazz Pharmaceuticals in Co Roscommon, Beckton Dickinson in Drogheda, NuVasive in Waterford, Teleflex in Athlone and ClearStream Technologies in Enniscorthy. Particularly strong performances will be posted by several regions, notably the north east and south west.
While Ireland bore the brunt of international scrutiny over its corporation tax, changes introduced in Budget 2015 the agency said will help the country to sustain, and win, inward investment in the years ahead.
In particular the agency said it was pleased to see the Irish government once again committing itself firmly to retaining Ireland’s 12.5pc corporate tax rate, “a core pillar of Ireland's competitive offering.”
Specifically, the IDA particularly welcomed new measures including a new “best in class” knowledge development box, a broadening of the R&D tax credit and an improved Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP).
The IDA also said it welcomes pro-active changes to Ireland’s tax residency rules which provide clarity for companies operating in Ireland, or seeking to invest in Ireland for the first time.
“This change confirmed Ireland’s international reputation as a country with a stable, transparent and fair taxation regime by bringing clarity to how Ireland’s tax rules interact with tax regimes present elsewhere.
“The Irish corporate tax proposition is firmly built around having economic substance, in terms of employees, payroll and capital investment and as a result any changes being considered internationally should benefit Ireland, not threaten Ireland's current portfolio,” the agency stated.
Outlook for 2015
Looking at the year ahead Shanahan said that the agency is “cautiously optimistic” that Ireland is well placed to win business across a range of sectors.
“However all business is hard-won and we need to be vigilant and avoid complacency, particularly in the area of cost competitiveness,” Shanahan said.
“The mistakes of the past must not be repeated. A poor growth outlook for Europe will also be a challenge. Finally, the importance of the education and training sector providing a supply of talented graduates cannot be overstated.
“Despite a challenging environment, IDA is confident it can turn in a strong performance in 2015, particularly building on the new strategic direction we will set for the organisation shortly.”
The performance was praised by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD who said that multinational companies account for almost 10pc of the Irish workforce and are therefore of crucial strategic importance for the wider economy.
That is why we have put in place a range of new measures to support extra jobs in this area over the past four years, such as extra IDA staff in foreign markets, increased skilled graduates and an improved tax offering.
“Today’s results show that a record 7,131 extra jobs were added by multinational companies supported by IDA in 2014.
“This means that 25,000 extra people are at work in these companies compared to 2011 – with massive knock-on impact for the economy. Martin and his team at IDA deserve massive credit for this result – as do others right across Government.
“As I say each year, the challenge now is to build on this performance and ensure that we create more jobs and more economic impact, as part of the drive to rebuild the economy and ensure that it is felt in people’s pockets – and I am confident that we can deliver on this in 2015 and beyond,” Bruton said.