The long term stalwart of the ICT sector in Ireland, Microsoft, led the expansion in Irish exports over the past year with an increased export turnover to €13.7 billion, a massive 37 per cent increase on the prior year. Microsoft has been operating in Ireland since 1985 and has increased its international mandate here in cloud computing. It now employs over 1,200 people directly, with a further 700 full-time contractor staff. Other global ICT leaders such as Dell, Intel, HP, IBM and Apple also made significant contributions to the exports, despite a difficult European economic situation.
These more traditional software companies have been joined by newer social media platform companies, such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Twitter. There was also a noticeable increase in the number of innovative games companies joining the sector in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch of the annual report, John Whelan, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association, said: “The dominance of the information communications technology [ICT] sector in the top echelons of Irish exports industry continued in the Top 250 survey for 2013. Total exports from the sector grew by 12 per cent in the past year, maintaining Ireland’s place as the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. Of the top 20 companies listed, 10 of them are focused within the ICT arena.
“The continuing rapid growth in the ICT sector, which now employs 75,000 people in 8,000 companies, will require an increase in the availability of software developers and engineers,” Whelan added. “Recruitment demand is currently for computing and electronic engineers and the expansion and replacement demand for these skills is estimated at 2,500 per year. Co-ordinated, sustained actions by the third-level institutions will be required to ensure a doubling of the output of graduates, which is the minimum to ensure that recruitment difficulties do not become the bottle neck to restrict export and FDI growth in the sector over the coming years.”