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Certainty in an Uncertain World

Certainty in an Uncertain World

The Irish economy has come a long way in just 9 years. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Ireland was the fastest growing economy in Europe, an unthought of dream back in 2008. Unemployment has dropped, immigration has risen and more importantly, confidence has returned. Confidence is still slightly fragile following the collapse in 2008 so that Ireland still looks around for signs of disaster. Yet the ESRI (December 2016) 5 year report, forecast average Irish GDP growth of 3%, and the OECD (November 2016) report to 2060, forecast average GDP growth of 3%.

I usually infer Brightwater when I say “Certainty in an Uncertain World”. The Management team have been in the company 12.5 years on average. That’s incredible in a recruitment company. Established in 1998, it means most of the management team have been with the company since 2004 and as such they've seen the ups and downs of the jobs market in every sector. Our brand and quality I hope, speaks for itself, but it’s nothing without a healthy economy in which to operate, and I write this with the purpose of providing you with the confidence to look to the future, and build your companies with confidence.

Population growth will be a key component of the future. The current population is 4.8 million with population forecast of 6.6 million by 2046 (nothing to be concerned with when the population of Ireland in 1840 was over 8 million). That’s 40% population growth over the next 30 years. When the average children born per woman in Ireland is currently 1.91, this means significant net immigration. The global skills shortage is in full swing because more and more roles require specialism that may not be readily available otherwise. The government has recognised this and has done considerable work to fast-track the visa process for highly skilled workers. Immigration from the EU and Critical Skills Hires from around the globe will be necessary for the high skills sectors in Ireland. Not just the multi-nationals, but the Irish companies, plc’s and SME’s that support the multi-nationals will need to hire globally. At Brightwater, we're advising our clients to be more flexible in their hiring processes and consider those from overseas particularly when it comes to IT. Currently the biggest sectors in Ireland are:

  • Information, Software and Communications Technology (the Top 10 ICT & software companies are located in Ireland including Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay, PayPal and Microsoft, many of which have their EMEA/Europe & Middle East headquarters in Ireland)
  • Financial Services (Ireland is the 7th largest provider of wholesale financial services in Europe)
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Financial Services (Ireland is the 7th largest provider of wholesale financial services in Europe)
  • Aircraft Leasing (Ireland manages nearly 22% of the fleet of aircraft worldwide and a 40% share of Global fleet of leased aircraft. Ireland has 14 of the top 15 lessors by fleet size).
  • Engineering
  • Medical Technologies
  • Pharmaceuticals

Brexit & Trump

The other major two factors affecting the Irish economy and therefore confidence are Brexit and Trump.
On the plus side, Ireland is very positive that Brexit will benefit Ireland in the long term and despite some organisations choosing Luxembourg and Frankfurt as their European base, Ireland is still very much in the running.

Martin Shanahan, the chief executive of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), said many of the corporations looking to move were based in the City of London. The IDA has a target to create an extra 80,000 jobs in the country by 2019, many of them from new US firms setting up their European base in Ireland. Ireland will be the only English speaking country left in the EU after Brexit, giving Shanahan and his IDA colleagues extra impetus in their attempts to woo companies, some of which are based in the UK.  The IDA has already seen a huge increase in the amount of enquiries and activities across the globe, not just in London or Dublin; IDA offices in Asia, the US (New York in particular) have also received enquiries.

Shanahan is particularly optimistic about the financial services sector and Brightwater's clients in that sector are echoing his sentiments "they need to have access to the European market and they need a jurisdiction in which they can do that. Ireland is extremely attractive because we are English speaking, have a common law system and there is the close proximity to the UK.”

On the threat of Trump imposing protectionist barriers to US companies locating abroad, the IDA chief executive said: “US companies, in my view, will continue to want to...go abroad, seek new markets, seek the talent that exists abroad and have access to the innovation and research that exists outside the US. I don’t see any kind of scenario where that isn’t the case.”

Shanahan stressed that the instability and uncertainty of global politics, from Brexit to Trump’s election win, might actually benefit Ireland. “In the context of a very turbulent world Ireland looks very stable economically because of the strong growth in 2014, 2015, and it looks the same in 2016. And we look very stable from an enterprise and policy perspective as well.”

This is all good news for our economy and should provide some comfort and bolster confidence in Ireland as a place to do business.  

If you would like to hear of any trends in the jobs market, please let me know at  I'd be delighted to help. 

Snapshot Facts


No.1     Fastest-growing economy in EU in 2016
No.1     Most attractive Staffing Market 2016 (Staffing Industry Survey)
Top 20  Happiest countries in the World
Top 20  Safest Countries in the World
No.1     The youngest population in the EU at age 36.0 years (Eurostat)

Northern Ireland:

No.6     Best performing education system in the World Top 1% Queens university ranking in the World Top 5    Happiest, and Safest places to live & work in the UK
No.2     Belfast was named the 2nd best city in the UK with the “best quality of life”
75%     School leavers go on to higher education
2%       Economic growth in 2016
5.3%    Unemployment January 2017 (8.6% EU average / 9.6% Eurozone average)