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Minister Heather Humphreys welcomes strong improvement in Ireland’s competitiveness performance

Ireland is the 7th most competitive economy out of 63 countries in the IMD Global Competitiveness Yearbook Rankings, up 5 places year on year

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, welcomed the rise in Ireland’s position in the latest rankings of the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook. It shows that Ireland’s competitiveness ranking has improved by five places this year and Ireland is now 7h most competitive out of 63 economies, as benchmarked by the IMD. Ireland’s competitiveness performance has improved considerably since 2012, following a decrease last year.

The IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook is an internationally renowned publication which assesses countries across the globe using over 230 competitiveness indicators. It ranks and analyses the ability of nations to create and maintain a competitive business environment and as a result, foster prosperity and long-term value creation.  It considers competitiveness using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data.

Ireland improved its rankings from 2018 in economic performance to 6th place (up 5 places), Government efficiency to 11th place (up 2 places) and Business efficiency, to 3rd place (up 7 places).

Ireland’s improved fiscal position, high rate of productivity growth, and increased cost competitiveness have contributed to the rise in international competitiveness. This improvement is reflected in a range of metrics, notably economic growth, increased employment, falling unemployment and a strong trade performance.

Commenting on Ireland’s rise to 7th place in the rankings, Minister Humphreys said

“Improving Ireland’s competitiveness has been and continues to be an absolute priority for this Government and I am very pleased to see this reflected in the IMD global rankings.

“The economy is performing very strongly. Our enterprise-based economy creating over 1,500 jobs a week and unemployment dropped to 4.6 per cent in April, the lowest level since 2005.

“Nevertheless, the Government has not been resting on its laurels. At a time of strong economic growth and almost full employment, it would be easy to become complacent – something that happened during the boom years. This Government is determined to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

“It’s why we launched Future Jobs Ireland in March, a new whole-of-Government plan to answer the future needs of our businesses and workers. The plan is about preparing now for tomorrow’s world so that we can stay ahead of the curve and retain our competitive edge.

“It’s also why we are investing €116bn in Project Ireland 2040 to sustainably plan for the future and tackle the deficits in our infrastructure arising from the lost decade after the recession.

“And it’s why we are bringing forward the National Broadband Plan, among other measures, to ensure that rural businesses and people are not left behind in this fourth industrial revolution.

The Minister concluded:

“While we are making very good progress, we are acutely aware that there are a number of external threats on the horizon, not least Brexit. As Minister, I will continue to prioritise policies that enhance national competitiveness and create the best possible environment for enterprise, innovation and investment across all regions.”

Ends //

Note to the editor

Future Jobs Ireland 2019, is the first in a series of annual reports as part of a multi-annual framework. Future Jobs Ireland outlines longer-term ambitions for the future of the economy out until 2025 taking account of the challenges ahead. Each year, Future Jobs Ireland will set out the steps to deliver on the ambitions with the ultimate goal of increasing the resilience of our economy and future-proofing it.

Each of the Five Pillars of Future Jobs Ireland has high level targets for 2025. Future Jobs Ireland includes 26 ambitions which contain 127 deliverables (actions) for completion in 2019. Each deliverable has a quantifiable output, a lead Department and timeframe.

In terms of implementation, Future Jobs Ireland will be a standing agenda item overseen by Cabinet Committee A. Progress on deliverables will be reported quarterly to the Senior Official Group. Biannually, more detailed progress reports will be made to Government and subsequently published.

Key deliverables for 2019 under each pillar include:

Pillar 1: Embracing Innovation and Technological Change

  • Deliver important policy initiatives including an Industry 4.0 Strategy, a National Digital Strategy, and a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy
  • Form Top Teams to progress areas of opportunity for Ireland beginning with Artificial Intelligence, GovTech and Offshore Renewables
  • Develop Ireland as a centre for developing and testing new technologies by, for example:
    • extending the EI/IDA Irish Manufacturing Research Additive Manufacturing technology centre to include cobotics and AR/VR,
    • progressing the Advanced Manufacturing Centre,
    • expanding the Tyndall National Institute,
    • commencing the development of a National Centre of Excellence on High Performance and Nearly Zero Energy Buildings
    • commencing the development of a National Design Centre
  • With NESC, develop a strategy for Transition Teams to help the transition of vulnerable enterprises and workers


Pillar 2: Improving SME Productivity

  • Deliver a new female entrepreneurship strategy
  • Develop a new investment funding facility to assist indigenous Irish companies in scaling their businesses
  • Encourage the growth of clusters where enterprises can grow and help each other and deepen linkages between foreign and Irish owned businesses
  • Increase the impact of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and increase SME take-up of Enterprise Ireland (EI) and LEO productivity supports
  • Drive productivity growth in the construction and retail sectors


Pillar 3: Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent

  • Offer career advice to workers through the Public Employment Service
  • Engrain lifelong learning and offer career enhancing opportunities to workers
  • Ensure our economic migration system is responsive to our labour market needs
  • Promote flexible training options
  • Provide training in emerging technologies


Pillar 4: Increasing Participation in the Labour Force

  • Conduct a national consultation on extending flexible working options
  • Develop guidelines for employers on flexible working options
  • Develop a return to work service (e.g. for women returning to the workplace) as part of the Public Employment Service
  • Improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities
  • Provide incentives for people who wish to work longer


Pillar 5: Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy

  • Position Ireland as a centre in research, development and innovation, for smart grids, buildings and renewable technologies
  • Review the regional dimension of the economic and employment implications of the transition to a low carbon economy
  • Promote electric vehicles and achieve over 10,000 electric vehicles on the road by      the end of the year
  • Deliver a national deep retrofit programme for existing housing stock.
  • Develop and implement green procurement policy