2,000 jobs could be created in microelectronics sector in 5 years

21 Nov 2011

Midas Ireland predicts a further 2,000 jobs could be created in the microelectronics industry in Ireland in five years, following news that ON Semiconductor will create 69 new jobs in a major investment in its Limerick operations.

These findings come after US company ON Semiconductor’s announcement to invest €13m to expand its Design Centre in Limerick to enhance its R&D capabilities. It is expected to create 69 new jobs.

Midas Ireland, which aims to maximise the potential of the microelectronics industry in Ireland, said the sector already employs more than 8,000 people in more than 50 companies, with R&D making up a quarter of the roles. The sector is responsible for more than €6bn in exports per year.

The organisation conducted its latest survey with member firms to identify employment opportunities in the field based on existing growth plans for companies operating in Ireland.

Chairman of Midas Ireland and director of ON Semiconductor’s Design Centre in Limerick, John Blake, said the sector needs an increased focus on the provision of support for start-ups and an enhanced integration between the industry and the academic community in order to reach the employment potential of an extra 2,000 employees in five years.

He also said the Government needed to increase public R&D funding for the microelectronic sector to support its growth.

“The microelectronics sector is uniquely positioned to support Ireland’s economic recovery efforts,” said Blake.

“With the history of support and investment from the FDI (foreign direct investment) community, there is a very strong tradition of excellence in the microelectronics sector in Ireland – this has subsequently spawned a vibrant start-up community which now includes indigenous companies that range from high-potential start-ups to companies that are now exporting and operating at a global level," he said.

Blake also believes that, in general, high-end start-ups will drive the growth for Ireland’s economy and the microelectronics sector could spearhead these efforts.

“The announcement that the microelectronics industry in Ireland can create 2,000 jobs over the next five years is great news and a welcome endorsement of Government policy,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at an event marking Microelectronics Week in Ireland.

“I am determined to work hard to take advantage of this potential, by ensuring that the R&D infrastructure is properly targeted and by ensuring that supports are in place for the indigenous start-up companies who will play a key role in creating these jobs.

“Creating an indigenous engine of economic growth and directing our R&D supports increasingly towards commercialisation are already key priorities of Government.

“Today’s other announcement, that ON Semiconductor is to expand its research and development facility in Ireland with the creation of 69 high-end engineering jobs is a practical example of what can be achieved in this sector if we act now, as well as being a great boost for Limerick and Ireland.

"With the right actions this can be replicated across the country in the coming years, and I am determined to ensure that this can happen," said Bruton.

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