State agency-backed firms support 491k jobs

Record employment levels in companies supported by Enterprise Ireland, IDA and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

New Irish Government data indicates more than 491,638 jobs are now supported in client companies of State agencies.

This is a 6.3% increase on 2020 and growth has been recorded in every region of Ireland, with 55% of jobs outside of Dublin.

“It’s a testament to the fortitude of the businesses in question and the dedication and flexibility of the staff in Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and Údarás na Gaeltachta”

The Annual Business Survey of Economic Impact 2020 shows strong growth in sales, exports, value added and direct expenditures in the Irish economy for both Irish and foreign-owned companies in 2020.

First port of call

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said the data  demonstrate the strength of Ireland’s economy despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and Brexit.

“These results show that despite the immense challenges faced by businesses over the past couple of years, employment in companies supported by Government is now at the highest ever level. That’s remarkable. It’s a testament to the fortitude of the businesses in question and the dedication and flexibility of the staff in Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

“While these are really positive results, I am of course aware that they don’t capture the full story and that the pandemic has been devastating for many sectors and indeed many are still really struggling. Government is on hand to help those that need it. Our agencies are often the first port of call for that help, and I encourage anyone who needs some advice to reach out and see what assistance is available.”

Top findings:
  • Employment in FDI firms increased by 6.2% since 2020, with 16,621 additional jobs.
  • In Irish-owned firms, employment increased by 6.5%, an increase of 12,580 jobs since 2020.
  • ICT Services is the fastest growing sector. Over a third (38.8%) of FDI companies here work in that sector.
  • Among Irish owned firms the Construction, energy and waste sector increased its share from 6.9% to 10.0% between the years 2021-2021.
  • Growth in employment was recorded in all eight regions between 2012-2021, with over 55% of full-time employment in both Irish-owned and FDI companies now coming from outside of Dublin. 
  • Total sales amounted to €353.6 billion in 2020 which represents an increase of 8.0% in current prices on the previous year’s figure of €327.3 billion.
  • Total exports in 2020 amounted to €318.6 billion, an increase of 8.6% on the previous year of €293.3 billion, with 92.4% of these exports being from foreign-owned enterprises. 
  • Value added (sales less materials and services costs) has also increased over this time-series and in 2020 amounted to €137.3 billion, up 16.8% on the previous year with 62.7% of this increase attributable to the foreign owned IT services sector.
  • Direct Expenditure in the Irish Economy (Payroll, Irish Materials, Irish Services) has increased over 2019 by 4.5% to €57.4 billion in 2020. The level of direct expenditure in the Irish economy by foreign-owned client companies was €29.8 billion and €27.6 billion for Irish-owned client companies.
John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.