What tech wreck? IDA reports highest FDI job numbers yet

Numbers employed in foreign direct investment firms in Ireland soar to more than 301,000 people, according to IDA Ireland.

Total employment in IDA client companies now stands at 301,475, according to IDA Ireland’s annual results for 2022.

Some 103 of the 242 investments won in 2022 were new name investments.

“The now evident severe headwinds facing the global economy in 2023 means we will have to work harder than ever in the year ahead to win new investment”

And despite the carnage in Silicon Valley in terms of mass layoffs at tech giants, job losses in Ireland remained at historically low levels with 8,407 recorded in the past year giving a net jobs total of 24,019 for 2022.

More than half of 2022 FDI investments were in the regions

Total employment in IDA client companies in core sectors grew in 2022, up 9% to 116,192 in Information and Communications Services, up 8% 105,199 in modern manufacturing, 5.6% in traditional manufacturing to 23,658 and up 9% to 56,426 in business, financial and other services.

The strong growth in regions continued this year with 127 – or 52% of the investments won going to regional locations and employment growth recorded in every region of the country.

Employment growth was highest in the Mid East region; up 13.1% to 21,861. The Midlands Region was up 10.5% to 7,665, Dublin was also up 10.5% to 137,822, the Border up 6.3% to 8.885, the South West was up 7.5% to 52,228, the West region was up 7.3% to 31,490 the Mid West recorded a growth increase of 3.6% to 26,004 and there was growth of 3% in the South East, to 15,520.  

With sustainability one of five pillars of our strategy, IDA’s strong focus was evident in the number of sustainability project approvals in 2022 with 21 investments secured, the majority of them focused on climate change mitigation.

Expenditure within the economy by FDI companies increased during 2021 despite the prevailing challenging conditions. Payroll was up 9.8% to €19.6bn, Irish services and materials spend increased by 10% to €11.1bn and capital expenditure was up 8% to €9.2bn.

Exports of €315.5bn represented an increase of 8.7% year on year.

“The challenging and volatile international environment that we saw in 2021 escalated this year,” said Mary Buckley, interim CEO of IDA Ireland.

“In light of that, these annual results are most encouraging and show that investors’ commitment to Ireland remains strong and Ireland’s value proposition as a place to do business remains a compelling one.

“That said, the now evident severe headwinds facing the global economy in 2023 means we will have to work harder than ever in the year ahead to win new investment. Our FDI base of companies is also subject to these headwinds. IDA will remain close to our clients at this time of uncertainty and support them as companies review their global cost base to remain competitive.  A focus on transformation is more important than ever if companies are to remain competitive amid an accelerating shift towards a low carbon and high-tech economy. The resilience and longevity of MNCs in Ireland reflects their ability to constantly transform in response to change.  IDA is engaging with clients on RD&I, training, digitisation and sustainability related investments to ensure the FDI base is positioned for continued success in the future. 

“In the face of such uncertainty, we are likely to see companies adopt a cautious approach, so slower growth is likely in 2023 with less clarity in H2 of next year. 

“We continue to see opportunities across and within our sectors of focus, which we believe remain well aligned to the global economy of today and well positioned to succeed in the transformed economy of the future. At the same time, we will continue to seek out and exploit opportunities in new and emerging growth areas in an evolving investment landscape,” Buckley said. 

Main image at top: IDA Ireland chair Frank Ryan, interim IDA Ireland CEO Mary Buckley and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, TD

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.