Pearson publishing to create 300 jobs in Belfast

Education company expansion in North supported by £2m from NI Invest and DoE

Suzanne Willmott, director and centre lead, Pearson Finance Services

Suzanne Willmott, director and centre lead, Pearson Finance Services

 

The education and publishing company Pearson has established a finance services centre in Belfast which it expects will create 300 jobs.

The new centre, which has already recruited 100 employees, is part of Pearson’s overall strategy to create a “leaner” organisation which its chief executive John Fallon has said will be “equipped to innovate and win in digital education”.

The FTSE 100 company’s products are used by millions of teachers and students throughout the world every day. But Pearson, which has 35,000 employees in 70 countries, has been struggling in recent years and has made a habit of repeatedly issuing profit warnings much to the dismay of its investors.

Last week the group outlined a plan to reduce its cost base over the next two years by £300 million and move to a “more scalable, more digital business capable of growth and margin improvement”.

Pearson said its new Belfast centre is part of its plans to “unify is global finance function”.

Speaking in Belfast on Monday Suzanne Willmott, director and centre lead, Pearson Finance Services, described Northern Ireland as the “ideal location” for its operation. The Belfast centre, according to Pearson, represents a “further significant step” in a major efficiency drive to bring general and administration costs in line with what it has described as global best practice.

Pearson has praised the role played by Invest NI in helping to convince it to locate its finance services centre in the North – the company was offered nearly £2 million of support from the Department for the Economy and Invest NI to secure the investment project for Belfast.

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of the regional business development agency, said he is delighted to welcome the latest global name to the list of blue chip companies already operating in the North.

“Pearson is the largest education company in the world, and this project represents a significant investment into the Northern Ireland economy, secured with our support,” he said.