Design accounts for 21% of exports, research shows

Design exports account for 21% of all Irish exports, new research to be published today reveals.

A total of 48,000 people, or 2.5% of the workforce, were employed in design in 2014, research carried out by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation as part of ID2015, the year of Irish Design, has found.

This figure is up 6.7% since 2011.

Almost half of Irish design jobs are in the digital sector accounting for more than €37bn worth of exports, the data shows.

Minister for business and employment Ged Nash, will launch the research today at Showcase, Ireland’s creative expo, in the RDS.

“We know that design creativity is alive and well in Ireland, from our makers to our high-tech product designers, but what the year of Irish design did was to bring that story to a much wider audience both at home and abroad,” Mr Nash said.

The report finds agency-client firms, operating within the digital design sector, represent 97% of total exports by agency-client firms within the design sectors of the six groups in the ‘Irish Design Footprint’.

In 2013, engineering design exports amounted to €952.6m, while exports of craft designs were worth €39.1m.

One fifth (21%) of the designers in employment in Ireland in 2014 were foreign-nationals, compared to 14.8% of total employment across the full economy.

The report finds outside of designers in the Digital Group, designers are more likely to be self-employed than other workers.

Furthermore, these self-employed designers are more likely to work alone than workers in other occupations in Ireland.

Mr Nash said: “The research we are publishing shows how important design is to our export market and indeed to employment here with 2.5% of the workforce engaged directly in design and design accounting for 20% of all exports.

"But there is room for growth in employment and opportunities.

“Design should no longer be seen as a nice ‘add-on’ or solely the preserve of the craft market, but as an integral part of business that can add significant value to products and customers.”


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