IDA, Ireland’s inward investment agency, has reported its client companies announced in excess of 5,000 jobs in the first six months of 2012, continuing the strong flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which occurred in 2011.

Improvements in competitiveness in areas such as office rents, construction costs, unit labour costs and business services in recent years have helped boost Ireland’s FDI performance. Ireland continues to rank strongly in the availability of skilled staff with the 2012 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook placing Ireland number 1 in the world for skilled labour.

IDA’s 2011 Annual Report, shows there are now almost 146,000 people working directly in over 1,000 IDA client companies. 2011 saw the creation of over 13,000 new jobs with the best net jobs increase since 2002 of over 6,000. These results position IDA to achieve its 2010-2014 targets as outlined in IDA’s Horizon 2020.

The 5,000 jobs announced are in a range of sectors including IT, Lifesciences, Digital Media and International Financial Services. The investments have been won despite a notable increase in competition from other jurisdictions and the challenging global economic environment. Among the companies announcing the largest projects were PayPal, Apple and Mylan.

There has been a notable increase in capital intensive projects in recent times particularly in the Pharmaceutical and ICT areas. A number of recent investments have commenced or will shortly commence, leading to the construction of over 1,500,000 sq ft of new buildings giving a much needed boost to the construction industry.

Despite the global challenge of patent expiry in the pharmaceutical sector, Ireland continues to perform strongly in the sector, targeting both the Pharmaceutical and the Bio-pharmaceutical segments in particular. Recent announcements have included Eli Lilly, Amgen, Allergan, Mylan and Abbott.

IDA is confident of securing, in the medium-term, significant investments that will require large scale office space. While there is currently an adequate supply of office space in the Dublin area the property sector needs to start planning for future demand. Availability of suitable modern office space, of scale, is strategically important for winning substantial projects. IDA has already held discussions with NAMA on providing solutions to meet this future demand.

Many multinationals are continuing to recruit in a range of areas including; IT, Technology, Languages and Sales and Marketing.

Commenting on the results, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton TD said: “A key part of the Government’s plan for jobs and growth is deepening and developing the impact of foreign direct investment here. In 2011 and in the first half of 2012 we have seen a very strong flow of investment and jobs from multinational companies, with large investments from major companies like PayPal, Sky, Mylan, Apple and Eli Lilly. These results owe much to the good work not only of IDA but also of my Department and agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and SFI working in cooperation with each other, and I commend all involved on the achievements.”

“We must do everything possible to ensure that this strong flow of jobs and investments continues;  we must also strengthen links between multinational companies and the rest of the economy so that the full benefit of these major investments can feed through to the domestic economy, for example through supply chain opportunities and mentoring for SMEs. Through continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs I am determined to ensure that we do even more to build on the very strong performance of multinational companies and create the jobs we need”

Commenting on the outlook for the second half of the year and beyond, IDA CEO Barry O’Leary said
“There are challenging headwinds facing IDA and Ireland with little growth in European demand, moderate growth in the U.S. and a slowdown in the economies of China and India. Due to a lack of domestic demand and budget deficits many countries are ramping up their attempts to attract inward investment. ”

”However IDA remains optimistic that Ireland can continue to win significant FDI, building on our strong track record. IDA targets a number of sectors that will continue to grow even in a globally challenging environment. These include IT/Technology, Digital Media and Lifesciences. Even in areas of low or no growth, opportunities will arise in sectors such as the consolidation of technology and operations hubs in global financial institutions and consolidation of operations in a number of other sectors.”

”IDA is in its third consecutive year of employment growth in its portfolio. IDA is energised, committed and focused on continuing to grow employment in coming years.”