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Increased contractor opportunities on everyone’s favourite island nation

Michelle Reilly, managing director of CXC Global

Before the economic crisis, which took an incredibly large toll on the nation, Ireland was undergoing rapid growth.  Coined the Celtic Tiger, the years preceding the global recession saw an impressive rate of economic expansion. Now while many global economies hang in the balance following turmoil in the Chinese markets, Ireland remains for the most part unaffected, with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) estimating that GDP will grow by 5.3% over the next year. Consequently, with promising economic conditions and its thriving capital, Ireland holds some great opportunities for contractors.

Over recent years, Dublin has emerged as a new European tech hub, with over 300 global giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter, all heading up their European operations in the Irish capital. The youngest population in Europe has been a pivotal part of the regeneration of the previously derelict industrial Grand Canal area, which is now known as the Silicon Docks and forms the centre of Dublin’s tech scene.

Low corporation tax rates of 12.5% continue to attract multinational tech companies to the area and are driving up the need for specialist contractors. In addition to the lure of low taxes, commercial property prices in Dublin remain incredibly low, particularly in comparison to other European tech hubs, such as Silicon Roundabout in London. Prices fell dramatically across the country during the recession, and are yet to recover, making the city an incredibly attractive proposition for employers.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, given that the digital economy accounted for half of the country’s services exports and 5% of its GDP in the last year, this tech hub is continuing to expand. In recent weeks the Irish government announced that they are aiming to create a further 25,000 jobs - a vast number of which will be within the tech industry - along Dublin’s commuter belt over the next two years. A key facilitator of this plan is the area’s proximity to newly improved road and rail networks, Dublin airport and the capital itself. The project will also create a number of jobs in the energy sector, with Ireland looking to boost the number of renewable energy projects in the region.

​Although the tax arena is similar to that of the UK, agencies placing contractors in positions on the Emerald Isle should be aware of the subtle nuances between the two systems. Agencies should consult with an expert if they are unaware of these small, but significant differences, to ensure compliance.

So with promising economic growth and a roaring tech industry, Ireland holds great potential for contractors operating within the tech arena. In addition there are also potential opportunities in the thriving energy and agri-food industries, which are both also experiencing significant investment and expansion as part of the commuter belt project.

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