Two of the main enterprise development agencies in Ireland recently issued their end of year results for 2017.
Enterprise Ireland issued their end of year statement on 3rd January. In total, 209,338 people are employed in companies supported by EI. 19,332 new jobs were created by EI-backed companies in 2017. Enterprise Ireland supports Irish-owned, export focused enterprises.
The end of year results include details at a county level. Fig. 1 shows the total number of jobs in EI-backed companies within the seven counties of the Western Region. In total there were 23,550 EI-backed jobs in companies based in the Western Region. This represented 11.2% of all EI-backed jobs nationally.
The total net change in jobs in EI-backed companies in the Western Region was 1,472 (see Table 1). This represented a 7% net change on job numbers in 2016. The growth in the Western Region was higher than the national average (5%). This was driven by strong growth in Leitrim, Sligo and Galway, which were the counties with the highest percentage growth nationally. As such, the Western Region accounted for 14.2% of the net growth nationally, higher than its share of total EI-backed jobs, indicating a strong performance in western counties.
Table 1: Net Change (gains less losses) in Total Jobs in Enterprise Ireland backed companies in Western Region counties, 2017
While these results are very positive for the region, it is important to put them in a wider context. While the Western Region accounts for 11.2% of all EI-backed jobs nationally, this is below the Region’s 16.6% share of total national employment (Census 2016). While these figures are not directly comparable (EI figures are based on the location of the firm and refer to 2017, Census figures are based on the location of the individual and refer to 2016) they do indicate that the Western Region’s share of EI-backed jobs considerably lags its share of total employment.
While EI-backed jobs account for approximately 10% of total job numbers nationally, for the Western Region they only account for about 7% of the total (calculated as the number of EI-backed jobs in 2017 as a % of total employment as counted in Census 2016).
This means that Government policy needs to build on and strengthen the very impressive performance of 2017 to ensure a growing role for high-value indigenous companies in the Western Region labour market.
Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Ireland
IDA Ireland issued their end of year statement on 4th January. In total, employment levels in IDA supported, foreign owned companies reached 210,443 in 2017. 19,851 (net) new jobs were created by IDA-backed companies in 2017.
The end of year results do not include county data, but do include job figures at regional level. Fig. 2 shows the number of IDA-backed jobs in each region. It is important to note that these are based on the location of the firm, so for example some of the people who work in the Dublin & Mid-East region may be living in the Midlands or Border and commuting to work.
Nationally the number of IDA-backed jobs grew by 5.2% between 2016 and 2017. The South-East region experienced the strongest growth at 9.2% with Dublin & Mid-East the second highest (5.7%).
Of the regions relevant to the Western Region, the Mid-West (5.3%) and West (5.1%) experienced job increases similar to the State average, however at just 3.6% the Border region had a weak performance. Brexit presents significant challenges for this region, so its poor performance is a cause for concern. The Midlands, which has the smallest number of IDA-backed jobs, also experienced the lowest growth at 1.2%.
More detailed data on agency assisted employment in EI and IDA backed companies, as well as those supported by Udarás na Gaeltachta will be published by the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation in its Annual Employment Survey later in the year. This will allow differentiation between ‘Permanent Full-time Jobs’ and ‘Part-time/Temporary Jobs’ which are combined in the ‘Total Jobs’ figures here, as well as more detailed sectoral analysis at regional level.