IDA anticipates a Brexit bonanza as firms from numerous sectors prepare for UK’s departure from the EU.
Multinational companies in Ireland generated 11,000 new jobs in the first six months of 2017, revealed IDA Ireland, the country’s inward investment agency.
This is up 22pc from 9,100 this time last year.
Industries such as life sciences, digital content, business services, technology and financial services contributed to the strong growth.
‘Geopolitical instability is the main threat that clients see affecting the performance of their business in Ireland over the next two to three years’
– MARTIN SHANAHAN
The financial value of the investments was flat year-on-year.
Investments in 2017 so far include Northern Trust (400 jobs), MSD (330 jobs), Pitney Bowes (100 jobs), Microsoft (600 jobs), Indeed (500 jobs), Element Six (100 jobs), AlienVault (50 jobs), BorgWarner (50 jobs) and Red Hat (60 jobs).
“Today’s figures are very encouraging in the context of what were very ambitious targets set out in IDA’s five-year Winning strategy in 2015. As an organisation, we are ahead of where we need to be, at the midpoint of the strategy in terms of high-level targets,” said Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland.
“The results are testament to the continued hard work of the IDA team across the globe that has successfully won investments for regions across Ireland. Achieving a spread of investments in line with our regional targets remains a challenge, but excellent progress has been made over the first two-and-a-half years of the strategy.”
Brexit-motivated firms look to Ireland
Shanahan said that Brexit continues to represent both a challenge and opportunity for the agency and its client companies.
‘We continue to have a great product to sell. We have a talented and dynamic workforce. We have a competitive and transparent taxation regime’
– FRANCES FITZGERALD
He said the agency has been in discussion with potential “Brexit-motivated” investors for more than a year, with the majority of conversations taking place with financial services companies.
Other sectors in the UK are also beginning to formulate plans for a post-Brexit reality.
“Geopolitical instability is the main threat that clients see affecting the performance of their business in Ireland over the next two to three years. The positive results are an indication of just how important Ireland’s stable economic and political environment has become for investors. The twin challenges of both Brexit and a new US administration have presented investors with much to think about. Indications suggest that investors believe that the new US administration may have more of an impact than Brexit.”
Shanahan said that the competitive landscape for foreign direct investment is hotter than ever. Talent and skills availability is the number one issue on the minds of investors.
And, while investors are “very happy” with the third-level education system, they believe Ireland needs to address the areas of housing availability and cost, as well as personal taxation, in order to continue to attract and retain talent and win high levels of investment.
Investors have also expressed satisfaction with Ireland’s corporate tax regime, labour force flexibility, and the quality of our electricity and gas supply.
Shanahan added: “There are multiple factors that companies assess when making investment decisions. Ireland needs to make sure we are making progress on all fronts, all of the time.”
IDA’s research found that 72pc of investors in Ireland plan to increase their headcount in the next 18 months, and 76pc are trying to expand the mandate of their Irish operation.
Shanahan said that increased resources for the IDA, including 10 new posts and the allocation of land by the Government through the Regional Property Development Programme, are producing results.
Advanced buildings in Waterford, Athlone and Sligo have been snapped up by multinationals. The IDA is also enhancing its business and technology park, and strategic site options.
The results were welcomed by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald, TD.
“Record numbers of new jobs were won. Hundreds of new investments, from companies across a range of different sectors, were secured. Real progress was made towards ensuring that foreign direct investment is spread right across regional Ireland,” said Fitzgerald.
“We continue to have a great product to sell. We have a talented and dynamic workforce. We have a competitive and transparent taxation regime. We have a proven track record as a successful home to global businesses. And we have a hard-earned reputation as a country that supports and fosters enterprise.”