By Niamh Hennessy
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
THOUSANDS of jobs are to be created in the microelectronics industry.
This news comes as US firm ON Semiconductor said it plans to invest €13 million to expand its design centre in Limerick for research and development.
The investment is expected to generate 69 new jobs.
A survey has revealed that 2,000 jobs will be created in the sector over the next five years, with the potential for even more job growth in non-technical support roles.
The survey was conducted by Midas Ireland, an organisation set up to maximise the economic impact and employment potential of the microelectronics industry.
The industry employs more than 8,000 people in over 50 companies in Ireland.
ON Semiconductor is the premier supplier of high-performance silicon solutions for energy efficient electronics.
Chairman of MIDAS and director of ON Semiconductor’s Design Centre in Limerick, John Blake, said that in order for the sector to reach its employment potential there was a need for an increased focus on the provision of support for start-up companies as well as enhanced integration between industry and the academic community to ensure that graduates had the skills required by the industry.
He also highlighted the need for the Government to increase the level of public R&D funding that it directs toward the microelectronic sector.
"The microelectronics sector is uniquely positioned to support Ireland’s economic recovery efforts.
"High end start-ups will be the engine of growth for Ireland’s economic renewal and the microelectronics sector is already well positioned to spearhead these efforts," said Mr Blake.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said: "The announcement that the microelectronics industry in Ireland can create 2,000 jobs over the next five years is great news and a welcome endorsement of Government policy.
Meanwhile, around half of all medical technology companies in Ireland expect to recruit staff during 2012, with four in every 10 expecting to increase permanent employee numbers before the end of this year, according to another survey.
The survey found that 43% of companies said they were now more profitable than earlier in the year, while over half of companies (55%) revealed they were more productive, had increased customer base (50%) and increased sales during the quarter (56%).
Spokesperson for the Medical Technology Excellence Awards, Brian O’Neill, manager life sciences, Enterprise Ireland, said 2011 had been yet another strong year for this dynamic industry where they had seen almost 1,000 new jobs being announced since the beginning of the year.
"These recent indicators are once again very positive and bode well for the sector in terms of continued revenue and employment growth in the new year," he said.
This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Tuesday, November 22, 2011