Jobs gain for exporters at six-year high
Exporting companies recorded a net jobs gain of 3,804 last year, the highest such increase seen since 2006, according to Enterprise Ireland.
The growth came as the agency invested €254.6 million across the 3,500 exporting businesses it supports.
In an end-of-year statement issued yesterday, the agency said total direct employment in client companies stood at 172,473 at the end of 2012.
Some 13,642 new jobs were created last year by firms supported by Enterprise Ireland and 9,838 were lost.
The agency assists companies across a broad range of sectors, taking equity stakes in some and helping others with advice or through grants. At the end of 2012, its equity investments were worth about €300 million across 900 businesses.
Launching the statement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said 2012 had been “a very important year for Ireland and for the Irish economy”, which had staged “a very significant fightback”. The jobs created came mainly in software, internationally traded services, food, and machinery and equipment. Positions lost were mostly in construction-related companies.
Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan said the companies assisted by the agency had proved “resilient and relentless in their pursuit of new market opportunities”.
Enterprise Ireland was “now back talking to companies about expansion”, something that hadn’t occurred for several years. Last year brought “a material change,” Mr Ryan said.
Enterprise Ireland would allocate greater resources in 2013 to the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the Middle East.
The agency also plans to leverage the Republic’s presidency of the EU by hosting minister-led trade missions to other EU countries and by organising four major conferences in areas such as innovation and nanotechnology that it expects will attract 3,000 delegates to Ireland.
A breakdown of the direct employment figures for Enterprise Ireland client companies shows 146,908 jobs are full-time, while 25,565 are part-time positions. Mr Ryan said there had been a “levelling off” in the creation of part-time jobs, with more full-time staff now being taken on. This has led to the companies helped by Enterprise Ireland having the highest full-time employment levels since 2008.
Enterprise Ireland said client companies now support more than 300,000 jobs in the domestic economy. The agency calculates that the companies it helps had an overall positive economic impact of about €18.3 million last year.
Mr Bruton said he remained unhappy with the level of bank funding available to indigenous companies but added that he “would have to recognise that the banks are trying to change”.
The Government is trying, through initiatives such as a €175 million State-backed seed capital fund, to create “a long-term viable spectrum of financial support”, Mr Bruton said.