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Tech losses lead to fall in jobs at IDA client firms

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The number of people employed at IDA Ireland-supported multinational companies operating in Ireland fell very slightly this year, amid difficult economic conditions and a contracting tech sector.

16,843 new jobs were added by client firms of the inward investment agency over the course of the year, down 48% from the 32,426 a year earlier, its annual results for 2023 show.

But 17,857 jobs were also lost across the foreign direct investment sector, as multinational companies trimmed their operations in response to the challenges of the global and domestic economy, giving a net loss of 1,014 positions.

This meant that by year end there were just over 300,000 people employed in IDA client companies in Ireland – the second year in a row that the benchmark was reached – although down 0.3% on last year.

That slight dip was entirely accounted for by the information and communications services segment where employment fell 2.9% as companies like Meta, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce downsized.

However, 19,000 new future jobs were promised by clients through the year. Jobs growth was recorded across all other sectors with modern manufacturing up 1.8%, traditional manufacturing growing 0.2% and business, financial and other services up 0.8%.

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Despite the small fall in overall employment, the number of new investments by IDA supported firms was up 2.5% year on year, at 248.

“With 248 investments won by IDA Ireland this year, the strength of today’s results speaks to the continued attractiveness of Ireland as a location for FDI,” said IDA chief executive Michael Lohan.

“The results also reflect an enduring commitment amongst FDI companies, supported by IDA Ireland, who continue to show confidence in Ireland as a location in which to make complex, innovative, and impactful investments at scale,” the CEO said.

A third of the new investments were from first time investors in Ireland, bringing the number of IDA client companies to 1,800.

More than half of the total investments – some 132 – were outside the capital, with the numbers employed in FDI businesses in regional areas now standing at 163,471.

The strongest growth was recorded in the Midlands where the numbers employed rose 5.8%, followed by the Border region which was up 2.7%.

Growth was also recorded in the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast.

But employment in the West was down by 1.8%, while in Dublin it was 1.2% lower and the Mideast declined by 4.8%.

“The results announced today by IDA Ireland are indicative of a resilient Ireland that, despite huge global challenges, remains an attractive destination for global companies to locate, build and grow their business,” said Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney.

“The work of IDA Ireland is pivotal to the delivery of the Government’s White Paper on Enterprise and the results delivered today show an impressive, sustained performance despite challenges experienced in the global tech industry in the past 15 months,” the Minister said.

“This reinforces the importance of a diversified economy across a variety of sectors,” he added.

25 sustainability projects involving client businesses were approved during the year.

The IDA said despite the challenging economic environment and increased competition, Ireland’s foreign direct investment proposition remains strong.

“As we move into 2024, it is important to recognise that we continue to face domestic as well as global challenges,” Michael Lohan said.

“It’s acknowledged that Ireland’s carrying capacity and infrastructural development, particularly in housing and energy supply, needs to be accelerated,” he added.

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