, Head of Regions, Property and Enterprise Development at IDA Ireland, reflects on a great year for job creation
2021 was a record-breaking year for FDI employment; over the course of 2021, IDA Ireland recorded the highest increase in FDI employment in a single year.
More than 29,000 new jobs were created with a net increase of almost 17,000 jobs. Total employment in IDA client companies in Ireland now stands at 275,384, the highest level of FDI employment on record. This job growth was supported by the 249 investments won in 2021, with 133 or 53% of those investments won for regional locations – the highest proportion ever.
“These strong results were achieved in a challenging and volatile international environment and despite the continued impact of Covid 19,” remarks Denis Curran, IDA Ireland’s head of Regions, Property and Enterprise Development.
In 2021, 133 investments were secured for regional locations, the largest number of investments on record. IDA client companies now employ 151,676 people regionally representing, 55% of total FDI employment.
The employment growth in 2021 was seen in every region of the country. In the Midlands, IDA Ireland achieved an uplift of 10% in FDI employment in 2021; the South East region experienced growth of 8%; in the Mid-West, the uplift was 5%, while the South West experienced 3% growth in FDI employment.
"It was encouraging to see the mix and range of companies and sectors that contributed to the investment and employment gains, as demonstrated by companies like Accenture who in June announced the creation of 500 new roles over the next three years in the Munster region supporting its work in the life sciences sector and specialising in areas including technology, cloud, security, strategy, creative and design," he said.
"State Street, who marked their 25th anniversary in Ireland with the announcement that it will establish a new global cybersecurity and technology unit in Kilkenny, creating 400 jobs and, Infosys BPM who announced last month the creation of 250 jobs with the development of a new delivery centre in Waterford. Global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, Fiserv, announced in June that it will expand its research and development operations in Nenagh, adding 200 jobs over the next three years."
In addition to the strong regional employment performance, the wider impact of FDI in regional and local economies continues to be resilient. Preliminary figures from the forthcoming survey on expenditure by FDI companies in the Irish economy in 2020, shows IDA clients in regional locations had an annual spend of €8.6bn on payroll, €4.7bn on Irish services and materials They also contributed a further €1.4bn on in-house R&D.
2021 marked the first year of IDA Ireland’s strategy - Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024, which has identified opportunities for sustainable growth among our established base of clients through a focus on transformative investments to increase the productivity of Irish operations and their workforce through RD&I, digitisation, training and actions on sustainability.
“When we launched our new strategy, ‘Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024’, we highlighted Regional Development as one of its key pillars,” added Denis Curran. “A key strategy objective is to win 800 investments, 50% of which are targeted for regional locations. Our regional performance in 2021 has created a strong positive start for us in seeking to achieve that level of ambitious growth.
"This strong growth in regional investment is supported by IDA Ireland’s property programme,” Denis Curran observed. “The timely provision of competitive property and infrastructure solutions that meet the needs of enterprise is essential to competing for and winning FDI, especially in regional locations.
"In our new strategy, we are committed to delivering 19 Advanced Building Solutions to regional locations. Significant progress has been made to date, with the construction of advanced building solutions in Monaghan and Sligo completed in 2021 and buildings under construction in Limerick, Dundalk, Athlone, Waterford and Carlow.
"The remainder of the buildings on the IDA programme are at various stages of site selection, design or in the planning system and will commence following completion of these processes. In 2022, IDA will continue to work with regional stakeholders and the private sector on opportunities to add to the supply of competitive property solutions in regional locations.”
In conclusion, Mr Curran said: “Despite the many international headwinds that created increased uncertainty and volatility on global FDI flows during 2021, the performance of FDI in Ireland remained remarkably strong and resilient. However global competition for FDI is relentless. Every competing location is upping its game. We must continue to work at a regional and national stakeholder level to ensure that we are creating the right conditions that make Ireland and its regions competitive and attractive for new and existing investors.”