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Highest annual increase in FDI employment – IDA

IDA Ireland’s CEO Martin Shanahan

Releasing its end of year results, IDA Ireland said that when jobs lost are taken into account, the total number of new positions in the foreign direct investment sector rose by 17,000.

The growth means there are now 275,384 people directly employed by multinationals here, the highest level ever.

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said the results were achieved in an immensely challenging and volatile international environment.

While the pipeline for new jobs looks reasonably strong, Mr Shanahan said that significant uncertainties and risks persist.

He added that Ireland must continue to focus on making itself an attractive place for talent and provide the necessary infrastructure and utilities that companies need to make it easy to set up and build their business in Ireland.

Mr Shanahan also pointed to international issues such as Covid-19 variants, varying international vaccination rates, inflation, supply chain challenges, climate change and geo-political developments.

“All of these will impact on how FDI decisions are made and we watch them all very closely,” he said.

In total, 249 investments were won by IDA Ireland during the year with 104 of those new name investors.

Just over than half of those went to regional locations.

There are now 1,700 multinationals operating here, accounting for 11% of the workforce.

The IDA also pointed to its soon to be published Annual Business Survey of Economic Impact results which show that last year the total spend in the economy by multinationals was €27.9bn, up 8.8% on 2019.

The results were welcomed by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Vardakar.

“These results are quite remarkable,” he said.

“In another year that was unfortunately mired by the pandemic, we saw the highest FDI employment creation figures we’ve every had in a single year.”

Among the biggest investments announced in 2021 were Stripe’s announcement of 1,000 new jobs, Intel’s plans to create 1,600 new roles in Leixlip, while State Street said it would create 400 new positions in Kilkenny.

Intel’s CEO Pat Gelsinger at the site of the company’s expansion in Co Kildare

Mr Shanahan said the IDA has had a lot of feedback from clients on Ireland’s decision to join the global corporation tax deal, which will see the rate rise to 15%.

“I think our clients understand why Ireland has entered into this agreement, they believe that in Ireland entering into this agreement it is good for both Ireland and for the companies that operate here,” he said, adding that just 5% of companies operating here will move to the 15%, with the vast majority in the FDI space.

“I do not see this having a significant impact on the pipeline.”

On the energy supply issue and the new guidelines on where data centres can be built, he said client companies are somewhat frustrated that their expansion plans may be now delayed or put on hold because of the availability of energy on the East coast and in particular around the Dublin region.

He added that the IDA is assisting client companies to work one to one with Eirgrid and said the IDA would encourage Eirgrid, ESB Networks, the regulator and all concerned to try to expedite the plan they have to develop the energy grid over the next ten years as quickly as possible.

Regarding housing supply shortages, Mr Shanahan said it is a context within which FDI decisions are being made, but it is clear from the numbers released today they are not a significant impediment.

In terms of the Brexit effect on FDI, Mr Shanahan said Ireland has benefited from it significantly in terms of movements of functions and companies to Ireland, but it is also now a backdrop or context against which investment decisions are made.

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