Irish data centre industry projects 1,800 new jobs

Digital is now front and centre thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and the rush of the world’s workforce to remote working, leading to a predicted surge in data centre jobs.

While Ireland absorbs the news that internet giant Google has shelved plans to rent more office space in Dublin, internet industry group Host in Ireland predicts that 1,800 new jobs will be generated within the data centre and hosting service industry locally. Incidentally, Google happens to be one of Ireland’s largest data centre operators with substantial facilities in west Dublin.

Could it be all part of the new future of work, a world where the majority of office workers will work from home or in a hybrid fashion between home and office, relying heavily on the cloud, broadband and mobile technologies to serve their data needs?

“Data centres are the digital factories of today and have been one of the few completely open for business during the pandemic”

The new Host in Ireland survey founded that 96pc of companies surveyed are positive or very positive about business opportunities within the data centre and hosting service industry.

Eighty-four percent of these companies also expect their employee base to grow in the next 12 months, potentially creating more than 1800 new jobs. The survey was conducted with a sample of 50 companies in the data centre ecosystem in Ireland, including Host in Ireland partners and other invited participants.

Technology explosion

According to Host in Ireland, technology has been adopted at rates previously unimagined and data processing and storage have exploded. While the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many industries worldwide, the data centre industry shows signs of long-term growth and stability.

“There is also the possibility we can help recently furloughed employees find a new home and transfer their skill sets to a new industry”

“Data centres are the digital factories of today and have been one of the few completely open for business during the pandemic,” said Garry Connolly, president and founder of Host in Ireland. “As significant portions of our lives shifted to an online world, the industry has felt a great sense of purpose as essential workers being on the digital frontline.

“The positive outlook and enthusiasm is understandable. When you take that, plus the renewable energy resources Ireland has at its disposal, there is a real opportunity to build and maintain Ireland’s leading position in the global digital datasphere.”

Data centres have been one of the top-performing asset classes in global real estate investment in 2020 due to the increased demand for digital infrastructure created by the pandemic.

“We expect to see capex (capital expenditure) spend for Irish data centres reduced by only 0-5pc due to COVID-19 in 2020,” according to Anthony McDermott, director and co-founder of construction consultants Mitchell McDermott. “This compares very favourably to some sectors in the construction industry which will see larger decreases.”

“The role of the data centre in keeping our economy moving in the last few months has reinforced the critical nature of our industry,” said Hannah Ormondroyd, head of People, Data Centre Solutions, CBRE.

“We have a real opportunity to attract, develop and retain new talent as we look to keep pace with the growing business demand. There is also the possibility we can help recently furloughed employees find a new home and transfer their skill sets to a new industry.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 8 September, 2020