Belfast Telegraph

Invest NI beats yearly target with 44% rise in job creation

By Clare Weir

Invest Northern Ireland created 1,755 jobs over the last year, a figure which shows an increase of 44% on the previous year and is ahead of target.

For the financial year ended March 31, the body said it promoted 6,485 new jobs against a target of 6,182, with 2,998 in locally-owned companies, 2,267 in externally-owned companies and a further 1,220 through locally-focused new business starts;

Invest NI said it supported over 2,200 local companies to expand and secured 24 new investments from international investors.

The number of new inward investment projects was up on the 15% secured last year and secured wages and salaries were estimated at £90m against a target of £51m - 76% over target.

Since the period 2008-2009, the average salary level for jobs supported by the organisation has rocketed 26% to £29,721, with average salaries from inward investments up 56% to £37,087 and those from locally-owned projects up 8% to £25,282.

The increase was attributed to recent high-value inward investments from 24 companies in the last year.

The body also said it supported private sector investment in R-amp;D of £65m, 87% of a target of £75m.

Invest NI chairman Mark Ennis said that three-quarters of spend went to locally-owned businesses, despite recent criticism from MLAs that the organisation was too focused on attracting foreign companies here.

"93% of work by volume goes on supporting Northern Ireland businesses," he said.

Research and development targets were not met, he said, due to one large firm shelving a project because of changes in the market.

As part of moves to boost export opportunities, Invest NI recruited 11 advisers, developed a Dubai office into a hub for the Middle East and opened a new office in Jeddah, bringing the body's global reach to 20 countries from the USA to Japan.

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, said: "To have exceeded our target for job promotion has been particularly encouraging, but perhaps more important was the quality of jobs we supported.

"Over 61% of new jobs promoted in locally-owned companies and 87% of those in externally-owned companies will pay salaries above the Northern Ireland Private Sector Median.

"It is a tremendous result that of the 2,390 jobs promoted, 1,021 have already been created."


of Invest NI's work goes to supporting Northern Ireland businesses