Ireland 'over the worst' of tech sector layoffs, says Coveney

Ireland 'Over The Worst' Of Tech Sector Layoffs, Says Coveney Ireland 'Over The Worst' Of Tech Sector Layoffs, Says Coveney
Coveney indicated the overall message from the technology sector in the US was an optimistic one in spite of large companies such as Google and Twitter making cuts to their staff in Ireland in recent months. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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Olivia Kelleher

Ireland is "over the worst" of the announcements in relation to job cuts at big multinational tech firms with bases in this country according to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney.

Speaking in Cork following his recent visit to the west coast of the United States, where he had a series of meetings with a range of companies, Coveney said that large tech companies are keen to not only stay in this country but to grow and expand here.

He indicated that the overall message from the technology sector in the US was an optimistic one in spite of large companies such as Google and Twitter making cuts to their staff in Ireland in recent months.

"I have spent the week on the West coast of the US speaking to large tech companies. A lot of the big names were more than happy to facilitate meetings with me.


"In fact the fourteen or fifteen companies that I met have a combined employment number in Ireland of about 25,000 people. So it was a good cross-section of the big players here in Ireland.

"I certainly think we are over the worst in terms of announcements..

"Of course some of the global announcements have yet to be translated in to announcements here in Ireland. But we may see a small number of further tech companies making announcements, but certainly I think we have heard the majority of the announcements that we are going to hear.

"Some of them of course have announced reductions in their global workforce and that has impacted on Ireland. Although it is true to say that the percentage cuts globally that companies have announced is normally more than the percentage cut here in Ireland."

He said that the good news story is that the tech sector in the US has emphasised that they "really like Ireland."

Correction not a crisis

"They find fantastic skills here. They want to grow and expand here but of course when they are making global adjustments on the basis of too much growth in many ways last year and the year before. "

Minister Coveney said that in essence what is happening is that most tech companies are taking back somewhere between 15 and 20 per cent of the growth they announced last year because it happened too quickly.


"That is what we are seeing. This is a correction in the tech sector, but it is certainly not a crisis. And I can assure you when the tech sector starts to grow again it will probably be growing out of Ireland rather than anywhere else.

"I got the sense from them that they have made the correction as they would put it that they needed to make to recognise the fact that growth and additional jobs numbers in most of these companies happened too quickly over the last number of years.

"There is a recognition of that now, and so they are making cutbacks to reverse some of the growth of the last 18 months.

"That is the case. If you take any one of a number of examples of international companies that have added 20,000-30,000 jobs in the last twelve months and they are now taking back ten or twelve thousand of those that is a trend across multiple companies big and small."

The Minister said that companies in the US were "at pains" to inform him that Ireland remains "hugely attractive for the tech sector."

Positive message

"They want to grow out of Ireland in the future, but they need to make a global correction which will have some impact on Ireland in most cases although in most of the cases we have seen so far the cuts in Ireland are less than the global percentage cuts that are being announced.


He said the signal that the value of jobs in Ireland to many of these tech companies is very high. The overall message is a positive one.

"Of course there are going to be some job losses and we will support people who are impacted by that.

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"There are a lot of other tech jobs in the Irish economy and there are a lot of smaller tech companies that are growing and are looking for software engineers and other skills in the tech sector. I don't think there will be a problem finding employment for people who are losing their jobs," he said.

He said the message he was getting is that Ireland is a place where they plan to grow and to invest more in the future not less despite this temporary correction that is necessary.

Minister Coveney stressed that the biggest tech company, Apple, has not made any cuts to its staffing levels in Ireland and is instead planning to increase its workforce in this company.

"The largest company in the world (Apple) that employs over 6,500 people in Cork are planning to add an extra 1300 over the next few years, and they are building out their (Cork) campus to do that. So it is not all bad news."

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