Irish manufacturing generates 30,000 jobs and stands out in Europe with 5.4% export growth

March 04, 2021

Ibec Medtech and Engineering, the Ibec group which represents the sectors, today hosted virtually the ‘Manufacturing the Future Conference’, where it highlighted how the manufacturing industry is driving growth and job creation in the Irish economy, adding 30,000 jobs since 2015 with 20,000 jobs added in the last two years alone. In 2020, Ireland was the only country in Europe where sector exports grew, experiencing 5.4% growth. 
Irish Medtech Association Chair and West Pharma Senior Director Operations, Tom Clarke said: “The ‘Manufacturing the Future Conference’ is important to our industry as it brings together manufacturing leaders to gain the latest insights on global trends and the opportunity to share best practice. 

“The sector here has already demonstrated its strength by adding 30,000 jobs in the past couple of years with 260,000 now working in manufacturing and boasts the highest share of employment in hi-tech manufacturing across Europe. Today’s event can help shape our ambition as we explore key hi-tech manufacturing enablers such as sustainable manufacturing, disruptive technologies like AI and robotics, as well as continue to optimise our global supply chains.” 
Mr Clarke added that: “We believe that with the right Government supports such as the advanced discrete manufacturing centre, as well as increasing the incentive scheme for the manufacturing engineering and polymer technology apprenticeships to bring them in line with better funded craft programmes, we can build on this success by equipping people with the skills for the jobs of the future while fostering technology driven innovation and collaboration.”
Irish Medtech Association Senior Executive Adrienne McDonnell said: “The role of the manufacturing industries in the Irish economy has been emphasised by Covid-19. In 2020, Ireland was the only country in Europe where exports grew, experiencing 5.4% growth. This is thanks to the competitiveness stemming from our model of substance with a world-class ecosystem which spans key sectors such as medtech, engineering and polymer technology. Not only is Ireland a location of choice for a range of sectors, but it’s a good place to start a business with more than half of the industry (53%) consisting of Irish manufacturers which grew export sales by more than 80% over the past decade, and grow a business with nearly half being FDI manufacturers which contribute more than a quarter (27%) of corporation tax.
“The ‘Manufacturing the Future Conference’ offers us an opportunity to set out our vision. As we look to the future we will be working with our members to embrace the digitalisation of manufacturing with industry 4.0, and ensure that we increase our presence in the European market. Ireland is already on a strong footing; despite only accounting for 1% of the EU’s population, Ireland accounts for 5% of its global manufactured good exports.” 
We would like to thank our sponsors, platinum sponsor DePuy Synthes; gold sponsors Boston Scientific and Stryker; as well as silver sponsors, Enterprise Ireland, EY, IDA Ireland, Irish Medtech Skillnet, IMR, Jabil Healthcare, and Sogeti.