Enterprise 2025 Renewed sets out an ambition for job creation focused on quality employment that is sustainable over the longer term with job creation throughout all regions. It updated employment growth projections on the basis of the Economic and Fiscal outlook, Budget 2018 published by the Department of Finance in October 2017, and Central Bank employment projections published in their Quarterly Bulletin, QB1 January 2018.
While not setting annual targets, Enterprise 2025 Renewed set the ambition to reach 2.3 million people in employment by 2020, an increase of circa 100,000 over the 2.2 million employed at Q3 2017 (CSO Labour Force Survey). The ambition is to have an unemployment rate of no more than 5.5% by 2020. The Action Plan for Jobs 2018, which was launched together with Enterprise 2025 Renewed, targeted the creation of 50,000 jobs in 2018. The CSO’s Quarter 4 Labour Force Survey statistical release reported an annual increase in employment of 2.3% or 50,500 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2018.
While forecasting is not an exact science and is particularly challenging for Ireland as a small open economy exposed to external drivers of change, Ireland has outperformed expectations to date with an unemployment rate in Q4 2018 of 5.4%.
Based on an assessment of the Economic Impact of Exports on the Irish Economy by Indecon for my Department in 2015, it is estimated that for every 10 jobs generated by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) directly, another 8 are generated in the wider economy. On this basis, this would translate into 412,302 jobs that were supported by FDI at the end of 2018. Similarly, a record 215,207 people were employed in Enterprise Ireland backed companies in 2018 which would directly and indirectly account for over 385,500 jobs in the Irish economy.
Future Jobs Ireland 2019, launched on 10 March, changes the policy emphasis from numbers of jobs to the creation of more productive and sustainable jobs. It focuses on the challenges ahead in terms of ensuring we have skilled people working in quality jobs in sustainable sectors. Future Jobs Ireland will also ensure our enterprises and workers are well positioned to adapt to the technological and other transformational changes our economy and society will face in the years ahead.
Future Jobs Ireland is organised around five pillars, namely:
1. Embracing Innovation and Technological Change;
2. Improving SME Productivity;
3. Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent;
4. Increasing Participation in the Labour Force; and
5. Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy
Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets out targets and core ambitions for each of these pillars, accompanied by a set of specific deliverables representing crucial steps toward achieving each ambition. The deliverables for 2019 represent the first stage of Future Jobs Ireland which will be built on in subsequent annual editions.