Lack of office space stunts Cork job creation

The head of one of the country’s fastest growing indigenous businesses has said that the lack of top-quality office space in Cork City has forced his company to locate a number of new positions elsewhere in Ireland.

Dan Kiely, chief executive of multilingual business process outsourcing company Voxpro, said that the company will soon reach capacity in his native city, preventing the company from creating additional employment in Cork.

The company, founded by Mr Kiely and his wife, Linda employs 700 people in three locations in Cork, with the capacity for another 400 employees.

Voxpro also employs a further 100 people in Dublin where, Mr Kiely says, there is far more premium office space available.

“At the moment we’ve 100 [employees] in Dublin and we have space to be able to go to 1,100 people in Cork, but that’s it. Once we hit those numbers — and we will, I would say by the end of the second quarter of next year — then we’ll have to make a very hard decision where we are going to go with the rest of the jobs that we’re going to create.

“It’s just there’s much more turn-key premium quality, city centre space in Dublin as it stands right now, but I think that will change because, ironically, there’s more building going on in Cork than there is in Dublin,” said Mr Kiely.

The head of the business outsourcing giant, which counts the likes of Google, Nest and Airbnb, among its customers, reiterated his belief that Cork had a substantial competitive advantage over Dublin in competing for foreign direct investment, however, saying that the lower cost of renting sets it apart from the capital.

“I think that firstly... brands that are headquartered in Silicon Valley will have an expectation that you will produce a similar type of environment in Cork or Dublin.

“We have office space [in Cork] but we don’t have the quality office space that’s needed to attract in the big multinationals, but I believe that we have a huge [unique selling point] in the fact that office space is half the price it is in Dublin and there must be an opportunity there to start building office space, so I think it’s a problem but it’s also an opportunity,” Mr Kiely said at the Cork Chamber Business Breakfast at the Kingsley Hotel.

Cork Chamber president, Gillian Keating said she believed the various stakeholders needed to deliver additional office developments were beginning to work together more closely.

Voxpro’s concerns over the availability of Grade A office space come as the company is undergoing a huge expansion with 500 new jobs already guaranteed to be added to its workforce next year, without the need to win any additional contracts.

With an international office in San Francisco complementing its domestic bases, the company’s stated objective is to employ 4,000 people by 2018. Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, Mr Kiely outlined his desire to see 1,500 employees between its Cork and Dublin offices by the end of next year.

Mr Kiely also expressed concern over a lack of suitably qualified domestic workers which has led the company to look overseas to fill its positions.

“There is definitely a skills shortage, so we have to be very clever and go outside of Ireland and bring in the young, talented people that we need from different countries in Europe.”


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