News & Events

2.18million people at work targeted as Minister Bruton publishes plan to end boom-bust cycle

Strategy targets 221,300 additional jobs over next 5 years to bring total at work to highest in history of the State

The Government will today launch Enterprise 2025, the 10-year jobs and enterprise strategy aimed at ending the cycle of boom-bust and delivering sustainable, enterprise-based jobs growth.

The strategy, which has been led by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton TD, targets 2.18million people at work by 2020, the highest in the history of the State, which will entail an increase of 221,300 people at work based on most recent figures. Key targets included in the plan include:

  • achieving and retaining a top 3 competitiveness ranking
  • unemployment in each region being within one percent of the State average by 2020
  • a 60 percent increase in EI enterprises spending more than €1m on R&D and winning €3.6bn in R&D related FDI
  • delivering 2-2.5% productivity growth per annum in Irish companies
  • step-change in the export performance by Irish companies – 50% increase in exports by Irish companies by 2020
  • an additional 1080 inward investment projects
  • export sector to create 47% (105,000) of the new jobs to 2020 (including tourism). During the years of the construction boom, exporting companies accounted for only 19% of jobs. This export-driven strategy will help ensure that the jobs growth is sustainable 

In order to deliver on this, the three key areas in which actions are laid out in the strategy are:

  • Create a step-change in the performance of our enterprises
  • Build a real and distinctive competitive edge and differentiate Ireland’s offering
  • Excel in creating a jobs-fit environment and getting the basics right

The strategy published today sets out the ambitions - delivering on these targets will depend on our ability to continually reform and deliver our programmes. This will require a whole of government commitment as well as new forms of engagement with enterprise. The experience and learnings of the Action Plan for Jobs process underpins this ambitious new strategy. The Action Plan for Jobs process will be the vehicle for delivering on it.

In 2012 the Government published its first Action Plan for Jobs, targeting the creation of 100,000 extra jobs by 2016. That target was achieved 21 months early and highlighted the potential of this whole of Government approach to the jobs agenda. Minister Bruton's aim now is to build on that success, embed those lessons and drive Government's industrial planning structures to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not replicated and sustainable jobs growth remains a reality over the coming decade. 

The publication of today's long-term strategy builds on the multi-layered approach to jobs planning developed by Minister Bruton - the annual Action Plan for Jobs process and the implementation of individual jobs plans for each region. 

The Taoiseach said: "Enterprise 2025 is a blueprint on how to rebuild a sustainable economy, sector by sector. It marks a definitive end to the boom and bust cycle embraced by previous Governments. While recovery is underway, it is still fragile and can be undone with the wrong policies that will take the country in the wrong direction. Our strategy is to keep the recovery going by building up all sectors in the economy and to ensure that progress is balanced across the country. With these plans we expect to see unemployment in all regions to be within 1% of the national average in every region by 2020. A strong economy with full employment that supports vibrant public services for our people is within our grasp if we make the right choices." 

The Tánaiste said: “I attach singular importance to the objective of helping people back to work – because fairly paid and secure work is the single best protection against poverty, the single best way to a better life. So as a Government, we have put in place a series of interlocking strategies that have full employment at their heart - Pathways to Work; the Action Plan for Jobs; our capital investment plan, Building on Recovery; and today, Enterprise 2025. We want an innovative and competitive enterprise base delivering quality employment that is sustainable over the longer term and that delivers a higher standard of living for all of our people. This is precisely what Enterprise 2025 seeks to deliver." 

Speaking today as he launched the plan, Minister Bruton said: “Twice in my lifetime we have seen the chance for sustainable job-creation destroyed by bad policies. Now once again we have the chance to deliver the jobs growth that can support the quality of life for our people that we all aspire to. This plan is about ensuring that this time it happens. 

“Enterprise 2025 sets out the ambitious targets which we want to deliver. By 2020 we aim to have more people at work than at any time in the history of the State, with over 220,000 extra jobs created by then. In order to deliver on this we will have to continually reform our programmes, work hard under the bonnet within Government, and form new partnerships between Government and enterprise. And through the annual Action Plan we will deliver on the nuts and bolts of this”. 

Minister of State for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD said: “Startups are the key engine of future enterprise growth and job creation. Enterprise 2025 sets out the ambitious target of encouraging 3,000 more people to set up their own business by 2020, or an increase of 25% on today’s numbers. But, we will also support these startups throughout their lifecycle to scale and thrive, not just to survive, and to become the next success story born in Ireland.” 

Minister of State for Research, Innovation and Skills Damien English TD said: Enterprise 2025 is all about future proofing the economy. Developing Ireland’s talent and driving innovation are critical to delivering the jobs of the future. This government is committed to doing both and creating more than 221,000 jobs by 2020.      



The Plan is available at Enterprise 2025 

Among the targets included in the plan are: 

  • unemployment in each region being within one percent of the State average by 2020;
  • export growth in Irish-owned enterprises of 6-8 percent per annum, achieving a 50 percent increase by 2020;
  • an increase in the number of startups by 25 percent per annum – startups with better survival rates – this would see us with 15,700 enterprise births a year;
  • a 30 percent increase in the numbers of exporters of scale;
  • an additional 1,080 inward investment projects;
  • a 60 percent increase in EI enterprises spending more than €1m on R&D and winning €3.6bn in R&D related FDI;
  • a 25 percent uplift in direct economic expenditures by agency supported companies;
  • greater, impactful collaborations that would see Enterprise Ireland supporting and brokering over 40 percent more collaborations between companies and our research and technology institutes to leverage state investment to deliver new products, services and solutions. 

The three key areas which measures will be delivered are:

The ambition is to realise a step change in the performance of our enterprises across the economy – with more Irish owned companies of scale, a greater number of start-ups with better survival rates, more entities investing more in research, development and innovation, more enterprises exporting across a range of markets   – delivering quality jobs and sustainable growth. 

  • Become a European leader in the number of start-ups and in their survival and growth – facilitated by better mentoring, funding models, accelerators, business space
  • Existing businesses will get better opportunities to improve their capability and step up to a new level – management skills, new lean processes, innovation, new markets
  • Enterprises will be challenged to build the connections necessary for genuine sustainable market focused clusters of scale and international visibility
  • Enterprises engaging in apprenticeships, internships, innovation partnerships, and mentoring to help nurture & develop the skills needed for the workplace of the 21st century

Build a real and distinctive competitive edge and differentiate what Ireland has to offer on:

  • Talent is the key part of this- develop, retain and attract skilled people by


-    ensuring alignment between the future skills needs of the workplace and the education system;

-    increasing investment in workplace learning; and

developing apprenticeships and promoting industry engagement


Place-making – by creating – by creating attractive places for businesses to invest and for people to live and work: 

-    delivering on the Regional Action Plans for Jobs building on distinctive strengths;

-    promoting innovation, jobs and productivity growth through regional collaborative initiatives; and

-    facilitating investment in infrastructures. 

Innovation will remain at the core of our economic performance, setting Ireland apart in what we do and in how we do business. Action will: 

-    implement the first OECD compliant knowledge development box in the world in 2016;

-    support increased enterprise research, development and innovation activities utilising a range of initiatives; and

-    leverage state investment in research and technology centres to deliver new products, services and solutions through more intensive collaboration with enterprises

Connectedness regionally, nationally and internationally through our people, businesses and trade relationships: 

-    further diversify export markets to high growth markets;

-    design and implement a new approach to build market-focused clusters of scale and with international visibility and stature; and

-    sustain Ireland’s leadership position in the digital economy 

Excel in creating a jobs-fit environment by getting the basics right

  • Taxation policies are important to support business, entrepreneurship, investment and innovation and to attract and retain talent. Budget 2016 has already given positive signals and we will implement the KDB in 2016, introduce a reduced rate of CGT to support our entrepreneurs and start the process to address disincentive effects with in the tax and social welfare system affecting the self-employed.  


  • Investment – must be prioritised to the arteries which are crucial to modern enterprise – efficient resource use (power, water, fuel, broadband), market access (ports, airports) and the regulation of these critical arteries


  • Access to finance – we will drive competition in the market place and the provision of the widest range of services to meet the needs of international trading and innovative enterprises. Stimulating greater equity and quasi-equity investment, promote alternative sources of funding such as peer-to-peer lending new forms of equity, and helping our companies to build capabilities in the strategic use of funding options for growth.


  • Smart Government and engaged enterprise need to form new relationships to ensure Ireland can excel in this area – strategic leadership from Cabinet, evolving role for industry partners, joint Public Private initiatives, honest monitoring of performance accountability and responsiveness