The number of jobs created by Enterprise Ireland (EI)-supported companies in Munster exceeded those lost last year, making it the only province not to suffer a net loss in 2020.
Almost 4,800 jobs were created by EI-backed companies in Munster last year, with 3,841 jobs lost, resulting in net employment growth of 925.
The South and South-East regions, which include Cork and Waterford, experienced the highest net gain in the country at 1,106. More than 4,500 jobs were created in this region, while 3,454 were lost.
The Mid-West Region, which consists of Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Kerry, experienced a net loss with 2,167 jobs lost across the four counties last year, while 1,791 jobs were supported by EI-backed companies in this area.
Nationally, more than 17,000 jobs were lost at companies supported by Enterprise Ireland last year, despite job creation closely matching the same levels as 2019 at almost 16,500 jobs, leaving a net drop in employment of 872.
Enterprise Ireland said its client companies in the life sciences and cleantech sectors saw significant employment growth in 2020, at 6.8% and 6%, respectively, while those operating in the information communications technology and interactional services and food sectors suffered overall, reporting net job losses of 1.6% and 1.5%.
Despite the last year’s challenges, Cork and Waterford fared particularly well in 2020, with the rebel county experiencing 2.7% employment growth in EI-backed firms, while Waterford boasted a 9.7% growth.
“If you take some of the expansions that we had last year, like Global Shares in Clonakilty with 50 jobs, and 100 jobs with Workvivo in Cork, what we saw was growth in the ICT sector [in the Southern regions] while ICT dropped overall, nationally,” Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, explained.
EI also announced its strategic priorities for 2021 in the report, setting out ambitions to sustain and increase employment to 222,000, support a recovery in exports with a continued focus on market diversification and strengthen regional enterprise development and enterprise infrastructure.
For Munster, that could mean new enterprise centres for starters, Ms Sinnamon said.
“One of the things we approved funding for in 2020, is community enterprise centres, and through the regional enterprise development fund, we have supported companies like Ludgate,” she said noting she believes companies will encourage more flexible working arrangements post-pandemic which could be of great benefit to Munster.