Enterprise Ireland has announced that net employment at its client firms grew by just over 5,000 last year to a record 225,500 in what was a “very challenging year for businesses”.
The government agency supports Irish businesses, from start-ups to multinationals, to grow and scale and compete in global markets.
15,530 new jobs were created in 2023, and when job losses are taken into account there was a positive net jobs result of just over 5,000.
Jobs growth in the regions did particularly well, exceeding Enterprise Ireland’s targets, according to CEO, Leo Clancy.
“We set a target that two thirds or more of jobs will be created outside of Dublin and this year we have seen 68% of the growth happening in the regions,” he told Morning Ireland.
“It’s pretty broad based, I don’t think there is any one cause but what I will say is that when jobs are created in rural communities, both the employers and the people are very loyal to a company that has got ambition and that is growing. I think that is a huge soft factor that we talk less about than we probably should.”
Mr Clancy said Irish export-focused companies are continuing to create quality employment.
“We have an overseas network of over 150 professionals who know their sectors and industries across 39 offices around the world. Those people wake up every day working out how to help Irish companies succeed in exporting. Back at home we have a team that works with companies in building their proposition to be productive, innovative and to think about global markets all of the time.”
The employment results were announced at APC’s headquarters in Cherrywood, Dublin, where the life sciences company announced a €100 million expansion and the creation of 300 new jobs to establish ‘The Medicine Accelerator Campus’.
The Enterprise Ireland CEO also spoke about the importance of immigrants and the skillsets they bring to the Irish labour market.
“It’s hugely important,” he said. “Access to global talent is really important in a tight labour market which we have in Ireland. The ability to bring people here, attract them into good jobs is a key factor both for the individuals that come here and for the companies.”
Each of Enterprise Ireland’s three main sectoral divisions recorded jobs growth with Food and Sustainability now employing 66,047 people, up 3%, Industrial and Life Sciences employing 93,652, up 2%, and Technology & Services employing 65,796 people, up 2%.
The agency said Climate, Sustainability & Agritech performed strongly, with employment increasing by 7%, as did Dairy, Drinks and Food FDI with a 5% increase in employment.
Life Sciences companies saw employment increase by 4% and employment in the High Tech Housing and Construction sector increased by 3%.
Digital Technology and Fintech sectors continued to grow at a moderate 2% despite technology industry headwinds, with international education and edtech reporting 5% employment growth.
“Looking to the year ahead, we have a major focus on supporting the ambition of Irish entrepreneurs to help them scale globally,” Mr Clancy said.
“At Enterprise Ireland we are determined to support both the start-up sector and established companies to increase sales and exports in global markets which results in increased employment.
“Business sentiment among our client companies remains very high and they are continuing to innovate to ensure they are competitive in global markets that remain turbulent. Enterprise Ireland is here to support those companies on that journey.”