Enterprise Ireland is considering revising its employment growth targets due to the economic recovery after client companies created a record number of new jobs last year.
The State body previously set a target of creating 40,000 jobs between 2014 and the end of 2016. However, chief executive Julie Sinnamon said yesterday the organisation’s board was in the process of deciding whether to amend this year’s target of 14,300 jobs , based on strong economic growth.
New figures show some 10,000 additional jobs were created by Enterprise Ireland-backed companies last year, the best performance by Irish exporting companies in several decades.
According to the end-of year statement from the agency, a total of 21,118 new jobs came onstream in 2015. Taking into account job losses, this translates into a net increase of 10,169 jobs for last year and brings total employment in these companies to 192,223, a record high for the agency.
Almost two thirds of the new jobs created were outside Dublin and all of the regions recorded increases in full-time employment over the period.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton welcomed the new figures, describing it as a watershed moment.
“Job creation is at its highest since the foundation of Enterprise Ireland. Every single sector is growing jobs, as is every region,” he said.
“The direct jobs growth of Irish exporting companies is now matching that of the IDA, but if you look at the indirect impact, then such firms have a much greater impact on the economy due to the high knock-on effect on sectors such as food,” he added.
Mr Bruton said the latest figures were even more remarkable given that between 2000 and 2012, there were only three years in which there were additional net jobs created by Enterprise Ireland-backed companies.
Start-up companies accounted for over two thirds of all new jobs created in Ireland last year, Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said. Over 200 early stage companies were approved for investment by the State body during the year. EI also supported a further 500 start-up companies through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).
EI noted that there were 15 investments in companies established in Ireland by overseas entrepreneurs in 2015, while 61 of the start-up companies EI invested in were led by female entrepreneurs.
Ms Sinnamon said that as well as the creation of the highest ever number of roles in the history of Enterprise Ireland, 2015 marked the lowest level of job losses since 2000.
While no figures are currently available for 2015, the agency said the cost of investments in client companies totalled €323 million for the previous year. IN 2014, €19.7 million of investments from prior years were written off.
Enterprise Ireland said it brought 1,064 international buyers to Ireland and co-ordinated 121 outward trade missions and international trade and knowledge events in 2015. It also transferred a total of 25 clients employing over 2,037 people to IDA Ireland due to mergers and acquisitions that led the Irish entities becoming majority foreign owned firms.