News & Events

Highest increase in FDI employment in a single year – IDA Ireland

Performance 2021

  • Numbers directly employed in multinational sector in Ireland reach 275,384 – the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) employment level ever

  • Substantial growth in FDI in 2021 with highest employment creation figures ever in a single year despite the continued impact of Covid-19

  • 29,000+ new jobs created in 2021

  • A net increase of almost 17,000 jobs year on year

  • Results achieved in a challenging and volatile international environment

  • 249 investments won in 2021 - 104 of them new name investments

  • 53% - 133 of the 249 of investments won went to regional locations – with employment growth in every region of the country

  • FDI employment has experienced staircase growth for over a decade despite turbulent global environment – IDA CEO 


  • Recovery in global FDI started to take hold over course of 2021, however significant uncertainties and risks persist

  • “Sustaining Ireland’s FDI performance requires a continued focus on capacity constraints and competitiveness challenges” – IDA CEO 

IDA Ireland, the inward investment promotion and development agency of the Irish Government, today reported a record breaking year for FDI employment with significantly higher levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2021 compared with 2020 and strong gains recorded in both gross and net employment.

Total employment in IDA client companies in Ireland now stands at 275,384, up 16,826 on 2020.  104 of the 249 investments won in 2021 were new name investments, a better than anticipated new name performance considering the ongoing restrictions due to the pandemic.

Growth in employment in 2021 brought the number of people employed in the FDI sector in Ireland to 275,384 from 258,558 last year.  Job losses remained at a relatively modest level relative to the size of the overall portfolio resulting in an extremely strong net employment growth this year – (16,826 net increase).

Growth in regions was particularly buoyant with 53% - 133 projects of the 249 investments won going to regional locations and employment growth recorded in every region of the country.

The strong growth in regional investment was supported by IDA Ireland’s property programme. A robust property and infrastructure ecosystem can be the key differentiator in winning FDI projects, as evidenced by the record regional results achieved under IDA’s Winning 2015-2019 strategy. This positive momentum has been maintained since the commencement of our new strategy.

The 2021 figures show a pattern of sustained, robust growth in FDI investment and FDI-related employment over a continuous period of more than ten-years. This year’s results represent a strong start to IDA’s new 2021-2024 strategy, Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth, which seeks to further enhance FDI’s place at the centre of a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive Irish economy. 

An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo VaradkarTD said:

These results are quite remarkable. In another year that was unfortunately mired by the pandemic, we saw the highest FDI employment creation figures we’ve ever had in a single year. There are now more people employed in our multinational sector than ever before – 275,384.

I think this demonstrates the strength of our economy and the fortitude of our people. Despite immense challenges, we continue to maintain our reputation as an excellent place to invest. This is a testament to the talent of our workforce and our overall offering as a country.

The success of our multinational sector has allowed us sustain other areas of our economy that are struggling. FDI is central to our economic policy and it will continue to be a crucial part of our plan to rebuild after Covid.

I’m particularly happy to see that over half of all investments won in 2021 went to locations outside of Dublin and had a really good spread nationwide. We will continue to focus on how we can attract investment across all parts of the country.   

Achieving over a decade of consistent FDI growth is a huge accomplishment, given the challenges our country faced during that time; recessions, Brexit and the pandemic among others. Thanks to Martin Shanahan and the IDA Ireland team for their work.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland said:

“These 2021 results were achieved in an immensely challenging and volatile international environment. Ireland’s performance in attracting FDI to achieve these record results is testament to the work of the Agency’s teams in Ireland and around the world, to the success of the client companies that we partner with on a daily basis and to the support of Government.

Looking at the period 2020/2021, despite the challenges faced by individual companies, to date FDI in Ireland has come through the pandemic relatively unscathed. This is largely down to the sectors that IDA has targeted over the past decade – Technology, Pharma, Medical Technology, International Financial Services, Business services, Engineering and Food - those sectors that underpin a modern economy.

In addition to employment growth last year, we now know from the forthcoming ABSEI[1] survey that expenditure within the economy by FDI companies increased by 8.8% during 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. This resilience and growth from FDI has shored up our economy and the national finances. 

In 2021, there have been 249 investments compared to 246 investments in the same period last year – 104 of those investments are from new name investors coming to Ireland for the first time. The high level of new name companies and the significant investment in R&D demonstrate a level of future proofing of FDI. 

FDI in Ireland has experienced staircase growth in employment terms for over a ten-year period linked to successful FDI strategies, however, we cannot rest on our laurels. Ireland has to do more to remain attractive in an extremely competitive global environment for FDI. IDA clients are embracing a green and digital recovery, and we must continue to focus on making Ireland an attractive place for talent and provide the necessary infrastructure and utilities that companies need to make it easy to set up and build their business in Ireland.

IDA is also cognisant of international issues, including the spread of Covid-19 variants of concern, the varying level of vaccination rates across countries, the future trajectory of monetary and fiscal policies should current inflationary pressures last longer than expected over the course of 2022, supply chain challenges, climate change, and geo-political developments that will potentially impact on investors’ decision making.

In January 2021 we launched our new strategy ‘Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth – 2021-2024’ with regional development, once again, as one of its key pillars and these results are a strong start towards our strategy objective of winning half of the 800 target investments for regional locations. In 2021 investments to regional locations, at 133, is the largest number of investments on record.  And, importantly, this growth was seen in every region of the country. IDA client companies now employ 151,676 people regionally.

If further steps are taken to improve Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to live and do business, the remarkable growth, resilience, and innovation exhibited by IDA’s client base over 2021 – and for much of the last 10+ years – provide an immensely valuable and nationally important platform for the future.”

There are now close to 1,700 multinational operations supported by IDA in Ireland accounting directly for 11% of the Irish workforce. 

The benefit of their presence here to Ireland is obvious in the context of their contribution to employment but it goes far beyond their direct and indirect employment contribution.

Their impact nationally and regionally to public finances, regional development, global value chain integration, spin-off indigenous enterprise, innovation and more can be clearly seen in their expenditure in the Irish economy. The most recent figures, from the forthcoming ABSEI results, which relate to 2020[2], show that payroll spend was €16.8bn, up 11%, combined spend of €11bn on materials and services sourced in Ireland up 6% to give a total spend in the Irish Economy of €27.9bn, up 8.8% on 2019. Exports were valued at €290.7bn, up 9.2% on 2019.

Capital investment amounted to €7.5bn, up 3.7% on 2019, with the largest spend once again coming from the Life Sciences and Technology sectors.

IDA made progress across our strategic pillars of Growth, Transformation, Regions, Sustainability, and Impact in 2021. Throughout the year, IDA continued to partner with companies to create jobs, locate in the regions and invest in R&D. We also began the process of implementing our new focus area on training and upskilling investment by MNCs in Ireland under the Transformation pillar, and our renewed emphasis on environmental sustainability related investments under the Sustainability pillar. IDA has established dedicated teams to deliver on the strategic objectives of the Transformation and Sustainability pillars, which aim to ensure FDI in Ireland is well positioned to succeed in the future of work and to support the transition to a green economy.


Key Announcements for 2021

  • Genesys. Galway. Announced 100 new software roles at its R&D Centre for Digital and Artificial Intelligence in Galway.
  • Medallia, Open Locations. Announced plans to open a new mid-market sales and support hub for EMEA, creating 100 remote location roles.
  • Indigo Telecom Group. Limerick. Announced plans to recruit 100 people to its International Fibre Centre of Excellence in Limerick.
  • Takeda. Dublin. Announced a €36m investment in its Grange Castle facility in Dublin, which will create c100 new jobs over the next three years.
  • IQ-EQ. Clare. The global investor services group announced plans to expand its Irish operations with the launch of a dedicated Funds business in Ireland creating 45 roles.
  • SITA. Donegal. Air transport IT provider announced a significant expansion of its Agile DevOps teams - creating 55 additional roles in Letterkenny.
  • Stripe. Dublin. Online payments firm announced that it is to significantly expand its presence in Dublin having raised $600m in funding, resulting in the creation of 1,000 new jobs.
  • Intel. Kildare. Announced the expansion of its manufacturing operations in Ireland, creating an additional 1,600 jobs.
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprises. Kildare. Company announced its plans to recruit 150 experienced technologists in Ireland over the next two years.
  • Horizon. Waterford. Biotech company Horizon Therapeutics plc announced that it is to establish a manufacturing facility in Waterford creating 50 new roles.
  • Fiserv. Tipperary. Announced that it will expand its research and development operations in Nenagh, County Tipperary, adding 200 jobs over the next three years.
  •  Accenture. Cork. Accenture in Ireland announced plans to grow and deepen its presence with the creation of 500 new roles over the next three years, specialising in areas including technology, cloud, security, strategy, creative and design.
  • Bausch + Lomb. Waterford. Announced plans to invest €90M to expand its manufacturing operations at its Waterford facility, creating an additional 130 jobs
  • OLED/PP. Shannon. Announced they are embarking on a multi-million-euro capital investment that is expected to create up to 100 high-tech jobs at a new Shannon manufacturing site.
  • Repligen Corporation. Waterford. Announced it is to significantly expands its manufacturing operations in Waterford, with the creation of 130 new roles.
  • Bionical Emas. Westmeath. Announced plans to establish a European storage, distribution and labelling facility in Westmeath, initially creating 35 new jobs for the Midlands region at a 7,000 sq ft facility in Kilbeggan.
  • State Street. Kilkenny. Marking 25 years in Ireland with the announcement that it will establish a new global cybersecurity and technology unit in Kilkenny, creating 400 jobs.
  • HIAB. Dundalk. The Forklift-maker announced it is to invest €50 million in a new factory in Dundalk, creating 100 new jobs.
  • Amazon. Dublin. Announced plans to open its first state-of-the-art fulfilment centre in the Republic of Ireland, creating 500 new permanent jobs to help meet customer demand.
  • Integer. Galway. Announced it will further expand its presence in Galway with the construction of a new Medical Device Innovation and Manufacturing facility, adding up to 200 jobs in a projected $30 million investment.
  • Poly. Galway. The global communications company announced the opening of its new EMEA Centre of Excellence in Galway creating 200 highly skilled jobs.
  • Zoetis Inc. Tullamore. The worlds leading animal health company announced plans to expand its manufacturing and development facility, creating up to 100 new jobs.
  • VistaMed. Leitrim. The MedTech company is to create 100 jobs as part of a significant expansion at its facility in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
  • Edwards Lifesciences. Limerick. The US medical device company is to create an additional 250 jobs at its Limerick manufacturing site, bringing the total number to be employed there to 850.
  • TELUS International. Ballina Co. Mayo. Canadian company is hiring for up to 30 new positions in Ballina, Co Mayo.
  • Legato. Limerick. The Health Service provider officially opened its R&D Hub in Limerick, announcing it intends to add a further 60 highly skilled roles to its operation.
  • MetPro. Tralee, Co Kerry. Announced that it is to expand its facility in Tralee, which will lead to the creation of 15 new jobs for the area.
  • Tegus. Waterford. The market intelligence firm is to establish a new European HQ in Waterford city with the creation of up to 100 jobs.
  • ClickUp. Dublin. US software company is to establish its European HQ in Dublin creating 200 skilled roles.
  • BD. Drogheda. Leading global MedTech company announced the creation of 100 new jobs as part of a €62m investment in the site to upgrade equipment and expand production lines.
  • Infosys BPM. Waterford. Announced it is expanding its presence by creating 250 jobs with the development of a new delivery centre in Waterford.


Related Content: IDA Ireland End Year Results 2021 - Speech by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD - DETE (

Notes to Editors 

Summary of 2021 Performance




Total Employment



New Jobs Created



Net Jobs Increase



Regional Investments



*Results announced in Jan 2020 

Regional Employment Breakdown




% change

Eastern & Midlands




↑ 8.6%

Mid- East



↑ 5.2%




↑ 9.6%

Northern & Western




↑ 6.2%




↑ 2.7%


South West



↑ 2.8%

Mid- West



↑ 4.9%

South East



↑ 7.7%




↑ 6.5%

2021 Total Territory Investments


North America


Growth Markets







2021 Employment Survey: by sector[3]





% change


Traditional Manufacturing



↑ 1.8%

Modern Manufacturing



↑ 4.3%


Information & Communication Services



↑ 8.8%

Business, Financial & Other Services



↑ 8.1%




↑ 6.5%

[1] Traditional Manufacturing: Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry, Mining & Quarrying , Energy, Water, Waste & Construction, Food, Drink & Tobacco, Textiles, Clothing, Footwear & Leather, Wood & Wood Products, Paper & Printing, Rubber & Plastics, Non-Metallic Minerals, Basic & Fabricated Metal Products , Machinery & Equipment, Transport Equipment, Other Manufacturing

Modern Manufacturing: Chemicals, Computer, Electronic & Optical Products, Electrical equipment, Medical Device Manufacturing

Information & Communication: Publishing, Broadcasting & Telecommunications, Computer Programming, Computer Consultancy, Computer Facilities Management, Other IT & Computer Services

Business, Financial & Other Services; Financial & Insurance Activities, Business Services and Other Services.

IDA Ireland’s strategy – Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024

2021 marked the first year of IDA Ireland’s strategy - Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024.

This strategy identifies the opportunities for sustainable growth among IDA’s established base of clients through a focus on transformative investments to increase the productivity of Irish operations and their workforce through RD&I, digitisation, training and actions on sustainability. Crucially it also maintains a focus on attracting the next generation of leading MNCs to locate in Ireland, further driving sustainable growth and maximising the impact of FDI in Ireland to 2024 and beyond.

IDA has set out to:

  • Win 800 investments – with the aim of having half of those go to regions
  • Support client job creation of 50,000 

Our new strategy is being delivered through a focus on five pillars: Growth, Transformation, Regions, Sustainability and Impact.

 These five interlinked pillars align with and are guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

IDA Ireland’s Property programme

In Q4 2021, IDA is completing construction of advanced building solutions in Monaghan and Sligo. IDA also has 4 other buildings under construction during Q4 in Limerick, Dundalk, Athlone and Carlow.

Two properties are due to commence construction in Q1 2022 in Waterford and Athlone. The remainder of the buildings on the IDA programme for Tralee, Drogheda, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Longford, Galway, Sligo, Castlebar and Cavan are at various stages of site selection, design or in the planning system and will commence following completion of these processes.

IDA Ireland continuously monitors its land holdings to ensure we have a footprint in all regions. In addition, the team are focussed on the ongoing delivery, maintenance and management of infrastructure across the entire portfolio which includes necessary upgrades to ensure it is fit for purpose and can support IDA and EI clients.

IDA Property Division ensures that all new IDA constructed buildings are completed to USGBC (US Green Building Council) LEED accreditation standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The organisation currently has completed 9 LEED accredited buildings located across the country.

Advance Manufacturing Centre

Led and supported by IDA Ireland, the new National Advance Manufacturing Centre (AMC), located in Limerick’s National Technology Park (NTP), is due for completion in mid 2022.

A world class industry-led Centre of Excellence, it will enable Irish based FDI and indigenous manufacturers accelerate the adoption of digital technologies into their factory floors and supply chains, allowing them to address real world challenges and drive competitiveness.


The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) was established by IDA Ireland in 2006 to provide world class education, training and research programmes on all aspects of biopharmaceutical manufacturing.  NIBRT is based on a unique collaboration between Government, Industry and Academia and delivers training to over 4,500 individuals annually. The continued evolution of NIBRT includes expansion of its facilities, capabilities and expertise in the emerging growth areas of Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Products (ATMPs).

[1] Preliminary results from the forthcoming   Annual Business Survey of Economic Impact (ABSEI) 2020. Final figures will be published in IDA Ireland’s 2021 Annual report and made available on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Website

[2] Preliminary results from the 2020 Annual Business Survey of Economic Impact (ABSEI). Final figures will be published in IDA Ireland’s 2021 Annual report and made available on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Website