Tuesday, June 18, 2024

IBM to create 800 jobs in Dublin, Cork and Waterford over three years

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IBM has announced plans to create 800 jobs in Ireland over the next three years to support the development of new software products underpinned by its investment in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has welcomed the announcement, saying it “reinforces” Ireland’s reputation as an attractive location for tech companies.

In a statement on Thursday, the New York-headquartered hybrid cloud computing giant said it will invest in its operations in the Republic, creating hundreds of roles in research and development as well as sales and consulting jobs across its two main campuses here, in Dublin and Cork, and at its subsidiary Red Hat in Waterford.

The investment, supported by IDA Ireland, will fuel the development of new software products using AI technologies including large language models to enhance security and automation, IBM said.

The talent pool in the Republic – home to the highest number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates per capita in the European Union – was one of the tech giant’s key considerations, said James Kavanaugh, senior vice-president and chief financial officer at IBM.

“As IBM continues to help organisations transform their businesses with hybrid cloud and AI, attracting, developing and retaining talent remains a key priority,” he said. “Today’s announcement is a result of our strong relationship with IDA Ireland and the Irish Government but is also a testament to the calibre of talent here in Ireland, one of many reasons Ireland continues to be a strategic location for IBM.”

Mr Harris welcomed the announcement, “which not only reinforces the company’s deep-rooted commitment to Ireland as a strategic location but is also set to deliver real impact to the Irish economy through job creation and by strengthening specialist skills and expertise”.

Making sure that the next generation that’s coming through are literate in these skills and have the skills necessary for the jobs of the future, I think it’s going to be incredibly important

—  Hilary O’Meara, Accenture

He said the decision to expand IBM’s operations in the Republic, where it already employs some 3,000 people, “demonstrates Ireland’s continued attractiveness as a preferred location for global companies to build out their digitalisation, research and innovation capabilities”.

Describing the announcement as “remarkable”, IDA Ireland chief executive Michael Lohan said it would “deliver real uplift” for the tech sector here at large.

IBM, which has had a presence in the Republic for more than 65 years, has been ramping up its AI capabilities here and elsewhere in recent years.

Last November, it announced a new training programme to help boost skills in AI over the next three years, targeting two million learners globally by the end of 2026. The Irish programme will be led initially by Dublin City University and Fast Track into Information Technology, which also partners Microsoft on training for high-tech skills.

Separately on Wednesday, an Oireachtas committee heard the Republic has an opportunity to establish itself as a global leader in AI development but that the technology has the potential to be “massively disruptive” unless the wider workforce is reskilled.

Speaking before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, representatives for accounting and consultancy firms EY, Accenture and PwC spoke about the future of the technology and the need for education.

“Making sure that the next generation that’s coming through are literate in these skills and have the skills necessary for the jobs of the future, I think it’s going to be incredibly important,” said Hilary O’Meara, Accenture Ireland managing director. “Likewise, things like reskilling the current workforce [is going to be important]. This is going to be massively disruptive.”

The Government wants 75 per cent of businesses here to be using AI by 2030.

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