Enterprise Ireland, the government agency responsible for developing Irish business globally, said that 209,338 people are now employed in companies supported by the agency. This is the highest total employment achieved in its history.
The number represents a net increase of 10,309 jobs for 2017, taking account of job losses. In line with total employment levels, the net increase in jobs, is the highest on record with Enterprise Ireland. The job creation figures are up on 2016, despite the uncertainty that Irish businesses faced in 2017 in the context of Brexit.
Enterprise Ireland attributes the strong performance by Irish businesses to the continuing growth of an entrepreneurial climate for start-ups, allied to strong jobs growth in the Construction (8% increase), Engineering (8% increase), Lifesciences (8% increase), Digital Technology (6% increase), Electronics (6% increase), Food (4% increase) and ICT sectors (5% increase).
Minister for business, enterprise and innovation Heather Humphreys said: “Today’s results are consistent with the strong employment performance across the economy. Whatever the outcome of the complex Brexit negotiations that lie ahead, it is vital that as a country we are ready, and that the government continues to take initiatives to bolster the capacity of our enterprise agencies to drive exports and support investment.
Job creation was evenly spread across the country, with every county and region seeing increased employment. Two thirds (64%) of the new jobs created were outside of Dublin. The West, Mid-West and North West saw the largest level of increases at 7% in 2017.
The findings mirror those of a recent Engineers Ireland survey, with 60% engineering employers saying their financial position improved or greatly improved in 2017. Engineering employers are very confident for the year ahead with 79% of employers expecting their business to grow further and 82% of employers expecting to hire in 2018.