The Facts

Facts of Irish Processing

In Ireland, as with other developed economies, employment in manufacturing has been declining over the past decade. However, manufacturing remains a key contributor to Ireland’s economy. In summary:

  • There are approximately 205,700 people employed directly in manufacturing – and a similar number of people employed because of manufacturing – that is a total of over 400,000 people;
  • Manufacturing provides employment across a broad range of occupations, through from operatives, technicians and trades to engineering and technology professionals;
  • Exports of agency assisted manufacturing companies were €78.5bn in 2012 up from €54.8bn in 2000, and have proven to be relatively resilient through the recession – in fact, exports was the only component that contributed to GDP growth since 2009;
  • Productivity in manufacturing has been increasing over recent years – annual average growth rates in per hour labour productivity across manufacturing sectors amounted to 5.6 per cent over the period 2007 to 2010 – enhancing the competitiveness of Ireland’s firms on international markets;
  • As a sector, manufacturing is a key driver of RD&I. In Ireland manufacturing firms invested €718.5 million in R&D in 2011, which equated to 39 per cent of business expenditure on R&D;
  • Manufacturing firms sourced €14 billion of materials and services from Irish based suppliers in 2011– although this has decreased from €17.5 billion in 2001. Manufacturing firms contributed €7.6 billion in payroll to the economy in 2011;
  • Manufacturing is regionally dispersed, providing employment opportunities throughout Ireland; and
  • Although Ireland is home to a number of large scale global players, almost 95 per cent of manufacturing firms employ less than 50 people.

While this paints a reasonably positive picture overall – much more needs to be done to enhance the capabilities of the sector to compete in international markets today and to respond to the disruptive change in evidence.