Professional services firm EY has unveiled ambitious plans to significantly expand its workforce in Northern Ireland, announcing the creation of more than 1,000 jobs over the next five years.

This move marks a substantial increase in EY’s employment presence in the region, even as the firm implements cost-cutting measures and job reductions elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The announcement was made during a UK government-sponsored investment summit in Belfast, which commenced on Wednesday, and it promises to bring a mix of experienced professionals, entry-level positions, and school-leaving roles to the Northern Irish job market.

The positions will cover a wide range of fields, including cyber security, data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, risk management, tax consulting, auditing, and general consultancy services.

EY has revealed plans to establish a hub in the north-western part of Northern Ireland, an area that has historically lagged behind much of the UK in terms of economic development.

The UK Department of Business and Trade has estimated that these new job openings, both in Belfast and the north-west, will contribute a minimum of £33 million in annual salaries to Northern Ireland’s economy.

Less generous pay rises have been announced

This expansion comes on the heels of EY’s recent announcement of less generous pay raises for its UK staff compared to the previous year. The firm is also initiating a limited round of staff redundancies in response to rising costs and a challenging economic outlook.

Currently, EY employs around 900 people in Northern Ireland, and the new hub is designed to attract talent from across the region. EY will collaborate with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy (DfE) to run an Assured Skills Academy program, targeting individuals looking to reskill, change careers, or enter the job market as recent graduates.

A balanced economy

Mel Chittock, interim chief executive of Invest NI, the region’s investment agency, praised the decision to establish a hub outside Belfast, emphasising its potential to create a “more regionally balanced economy” and provide opportunities for the economically inactive population, which constitutes 27 percent of Northern Ireland’s working-age citizens, according to official data.

The investment summit, which has drawn 200 delegates from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, aims to showcase Northern Ireland as an attractive investment destination with unique access to both EU and UK markets for goods post-Brexit.

The United States is currently the largest source of foreign direct investment in Northern Ireland, with the region securing 33 new FDI projects in 2022-23, resulting in the creation of 1,416 new jobs.

Kemi Badenoch, the UK Business and Trade Secretary, has lauded Northern Ireland as “one of the most exciting places to invest in the world,” citing its exceptional trading position and expertise in industries of the future.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.