2016 was another good year for job growth in Ireland. Over the course of the year, unemployment dropped from 8.9% to 7.2%, to reach an eight-year low.

Foreign Investment

IDA Ireland companies performed very well in 2016, with employment by overseas companies almost reaching the 200,000 mark. These companies created just under 19,000 jobs and had the lowest level of job losses in 19 years, giving them a net job increase of 11,842 jobs in 2016. More importantly, every region of the country experienced a net job increase. It is vital that more jobs are created outside of the main urban centres. Dublin has enjoyed strong job growth for a few years but economic recovery has been slower to arrive to the more rural parts of the country. This makes the net job increase in each region by IDA companies particularly significant. International services, financial services, pharmaceuticals and medical devices were all cited by IDA Ireland as sectors that provided robust job growth. Collins McNicholas Director Michelle Murphy emphasised the importance of the projects happening outside of Dublin, particularly in the West: ‘We are seeing more large scale investment in regional locations. Companies such as Zeltiq and Siteminder, both of whom invested in Galway this year, are realising the depth of talent that is available throughout the country. The quality of the workforce, combined with lower overall costs, makes these locations attractive to multinationals investing in Ireland, and in the process generate vital regional employment.’


Ireland has experienced net inward migration for the first time since 2009. Irish nationals, however, continue to experience net outward migration, but at a much lower level than even 12 months ago. The number of Irish nationals returning to Ireland increased by 74% over 12 months to April 2016. This is a very positive trend, with many of those returning possessing 3rd level qualifications and a significant amount of professional experience developed in their time overseas. ‘This is something we saw at our recent Home for Work events,’ acknowledged Collins McNicholas Director Antoinette O’Flaherty, ‘ where we met a large number of people that were interested in moving back to Ireland and wanted to explore their options before they committed to moving home. The main concerns that people had were whether there are opportunities in their specific field of employment within their preferred regional locations.’

Looking Ahead

Commenting on the jobs market at the end of 2016 Niall Murray, Managing Director of Collins McNicholas Recruitment, said: ‘Overall, 2016 has been a very positive year for job creation in Ireland. Major international companies have continued to invest strongly, job growth in the regions has noticeably improved, and the demand for graduates with third-level qualifications, particularly in STEM subjects, is increasing. I expect job creation to continue improving over the next 12 months with property costs and availability in Dublin and Cork potentially leading more companies to invest in vibrant regional locations.’

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Niall Murray

Managing Director

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services