Number employed by Government client companies hits record 535,000

Simon Coveney says figures demonstrate strength of State’s economy

The number of people employed in client companies of Government agencies rose to more than 535,000 last year despite a slight fall-off in the number employed by foreign-owned multinationals.

The latest Annual Employment Survey published by the Department of Public Enterprise indicated that jobs in client companies of Enterprise Ireland, the IDA and Údarás na Gaeltachta rose to their highest level of 535,604 in 2023.

This was 4,033 or 0.8 per cent up on the 2022 figure.

The report indicated that employment in foreign direct investment (FDI) firms, however, decreased by 0.2 per cent since 2022, with 601 less total jobs.


The fall-off in multinational employment in 2023 coincided with a significant weakening in global demand, which has dented Irish exports. The tech sector has been one of the worst hit with big names such Google, Meta and Stripe announcing cuts to their global and Irish workforces.

Employment in client companies of State agencies on the whole rose with Irish-owned firms backed by Enterprise Ireland, and Údarás na Gaeltachta taking on more staff.

The department’s report indicated that employment in Irish-owned firms rose by 2.1 per cent, an increase of 4,634 total jobs since 2022.

Among Irish-owned firms, the energy, water, waste construction sector gained the most jobs followed by food, drink and tobacco with 1,262 and 1,137 full-time jobs created respectively.

Among foreign-owned firms chemicals and medical devices gained the most jobs with 1,472 and 1,330 full time jobs created respectively.

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Growth in employment in 2014-2023 was strongest in the Dublin region with an increase of 78.8 per cent (85,861), followed by the southwest (up 55.5 per cent, 27,537 full time jobs). All regions grew employment over the 10-year period, the report said.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney said the figures demonstrated the strength of Ireland’s economy despite serious challenges posed to international trade.

“These results show the resilience of industry in Ireland. In spite of the challenges posed by the global downturn in the IT sector, inflation and the war in Ukraine, employment in companies supported by the Government is at a new record high,” he said.

“In 2023 employment growth in Irish owned firms and in the foreign owned chemicals and medical devices sectors have offset the losses in the IT sector. Sales and exports continue to grow strongly, and these companies purchase goods and services in the local economy,” he said.

“Government enterprise policy is working and my department will continue to support Irish business, while also investing in bringing new jobs to Ireland through our agencies,” Mr Coveney said.

The department also published a separate annual business survey of economic impact report which showed that total exports in 2022 amounted to €419.2 billion, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year of €374.4 billion, with 92.1 per cent of these exports being from foreign-owned enterprises.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times