Belfast Telegraph

Invest Northern Ireland is just the job after a bumper G8 year

By Clare Weir

Invest NI attracted 23 first-time investors to Northern Ireland last year, according to its annual results.

And after a bumper April in which nearly 3,000 new jobs were announced by the agency, chief executive Alastair Hamilton said he believed there could be even more big job announcements off the back of last October's investment conference in Belfast which followed the G8 summit.

For the first time, Invest NI also divulged the number of jobs created as a result of its support, saying there had been 18,000 over the last three years.

The body promoted almost 11,000 new jobs in 2013 against a target of 7,780. Jobs promoted are those which a company receiving Invest NI help states it will create.

The agency said 6,040 of those jobs were in locally owned companies and 4,760 through externally owned firms.

Mr Hamilton said the cost of each job supported was around £6800. He added: "I am extremely proud of the achievements we have made this year. It has, by all accounts, been a record year.

"The year has not been without its challenges.

"Supporting export remains behind target, however there are grounds for optimism and signs that the market is stabilising and improving."

Exports showed 10% growth over the same quarter last year but are still lagging behind target.

However, Mr Hamilton said that figures were skewed by the fact that services – such as those being provided by major American finance houses and London legal firms – were not counted as exports despite the fact they are being supplied to overseas customers.

Products shipped to Britain, our biggest market, are also not included in the figure, as it is counted as part of the UK.

Invest NI said it supported wages and salaries of £190 million in 2013, 45% from local businesses. The body provided support to nearly 3,000 businesses, up 15% on last year, including £239m funding for research and development.

The Jobs Fund, set up to create lower paid jobs more quickly, promoted over 4,500 jobs of which almost 2,000 have been created.

Of those, 55% have been taken up by people previously unemployed or economically inactive.

According to Invest NI, the average salaries figure for our jobs support projects, excluding Jobs Fund and Regional Start which are not targeted for their wage levels but to create jobs quickly, is £26,101

Over 70% of the jobs promoted outside of the Jobs Fund paid salaries that were above private sector median wage of just under £24,000.

New entries to the Northern Ireland market announced in April include Convergys, which will employ 333 people at a contact centre for mobile phone company EE in Londonderry, a decision which Invest NI said was made as a direct result of last year's conference.

Other new companies to come to these shores in 2013 were American company ShopKeep POS, which hopes to create up to 35 jobs, and USA communications firm GTT, creating at least 12 jobs.

Aluminium casting firm Ryobi announced 100 new jobs in February. Medical devices firm Terumo announced 400 jobs in June.

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