Launching its annual report today, IDA Ireland highlights the creation of more than 12,000 new jobs by client companies last year, and indications that foreign direct investment in Ireland shows no sign of waning.
The 2012 Annual Report from IDA Ireland shows that the Government body’s 1,033 client companies employed 152,785 people in Ireland last year.
These companies created 12,722 new positions in 2012, while job losses at these firms were at their lowest level in a decade.
Looking at the first six months of this year, job creation fuelled by the IDA is going from strength to strength. Compared to 61 projects secured at this stage last year, the development agency now boasts 70 projects announced in the first half of 2013 – 35 of which come from companies deciding to invest in Ireland for the first time.
Companies expanding and investing in Ireland include eBay, EMC, McAfee, Pfizer, Sanofi, Symantec, Huawei, Yahoo!, Facebook, Groupon, Qualcomm, Novartis and AOL. These projects are expected to the lead to the direct creation of 7,000 jobs, while also providing a boost for the property and construction industries.
About 5,000 construction workers are said to be working on projects for IDA client companies, while other client companies are in negotiations to take up 600,000 sq feet of property stock over the coming months.
However, this poses its own challenges. “FDI successes have strong knock-on effects economically, and this includes in leisure, retail and most significantly, property. As a result, the number of properties in prime locations available for future FDI expansions is starting to reduce, creating a challenge in future years,” said IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O’Leary.
To address this issue, IDA is working with NAMA and other stakeholders.
This is just one of the challenges coming up against IDA this year, as Ireland’s attractive corporation tax rate – a key selling point to foreign investors – faces competition from changing systems in the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
“But challenges can be overcome, as demonstrated in the pharma sector. The pharma industry globally is dealing with two key challenges at present – over capacity and patent expiry – and Ireland is no exception to these trends. However, Ireland has won nine new investments in pharma/biopharma in the last year and a half, and IDA is currently pursuing several key strategic investments on behalf of Ireland in this sector,” said O’Leary.
“Despite its challenges, employment in the pharma sector appears to have stabilised while almost all of IDA’s targeted sectors have seen increases in employment. “
As for the remainder of the year, the IDA is taking an outlook of cautious optimism. “There is a clear slowdown in Europe, a key market for IDA clients and this poses a particular challenge,” said O’Leary. “Nevertheless, there are opportunities in sectors like technology, international financial services, life sciences and where consolidation is taking place on a pan-European basis. IDA is also confident of taking advantage of new high-growth sectors, like big data in the period ahead.”