More than 500 home-working jobs have been promised for Northern Ireland by a global supplier of back office services.
Hinduja Global Solutions, which employs approximately 41,000 people in seven countries, has already hired around 100 of a planned 565 workforce.
Outgoing Economy Minister Diane Dodds, announcing the jobs boost at Invest NI's Belfast headquarters, said people across the region will be able to apply for the jobs in a boost to rural communities.
The Minister said this brings to around 1,000 the number of promised jobs following announcements over the last week. Hiring will happen over three years, according to the company and Invest NI.
Invest NI is supporting the project with £1.65m of public money, but Ms Dodds said it would bring in £10m in annual salaries and that those already hired come from every council area.
"A project of this scale will deliver a real boost for our economy, generating additional annual salaries of around £10m once fully implemented," said Ms Dodds.
"This provides important employment options for those in rural communities and those who will be attracted to working from home through lifestyle or necessity.
“This also brings environmental benefits including reduced energy use and costs, along with less traveling for staff, less time away from home leading to improved work-life balance, less stress and more flexibility.”
Hinduja, which provides services to private companies such as Starbucks as well as public agencies, is promising a range of jobs.
This will include call centre operators, support staff and managers, but Adam Foster, chief executive of the company's UK arm, did not want to be drawn on the starting or average pay.
On the basis of the £10m in total salaries, the average pay will be around £17,000.
Mr Foster said some of the staff hired will be provided with IT equipment, including laptops and headsets, but not all. While some qualifications may be of beneficial the company is looking more for "can-do attitudes", he said.
Hinduja's UK operations already include a large element of home working, but this has accelerated due to Covid.
The decision to invest in Northern Ireland was in the works for some years and not directly linked to the pandemic and changed working habits.
"There can be some misperceptions of business processing/contact centre type businesses, but we really pride ourselves on our positive culture at HGS," said Mr Foster.
"Our use of technology-powered services including automation, analytics and digital for back office processing frees up our staff to focus on higher-value and more interesting work."
Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest Northern Ireland said: “A project of this scale and type helps contribute to a balanced spread of economic development and recovery across Northern Ireland."