Back to Top

 Skip navigation

Press Statement


06 May 2020

Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland 2018

Over 380,000 jobs linked to Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland in 2018
  • Ireland's stock of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) decreased from €882bn in 2017 to €874bn in 2018 but at 270% of GDP, this remains high in comparison to our EU neighbours
  • The publication includes new analysis on pass-through investment showing that 36% of investment can be attributed to investment passing through Ireland
  • Figures show that €17bn of FDI in Ireland in 2018 is brand new or 'greenfield' investment
  • The majority of FDI jobs were in the manufacturing (94,000) and retail (91,000) sectors
  • The scientific and technical activities sector experienced the largest growth in jobs with an increase of 69% since 2012

Go to release: Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland 2018

Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland 2018, a thematic publication exploring the impact of FDI and globalisation, includes a detailed examination of the make-up of FDI employment in Ireland. It shows over 380,000 jobs are directly linked to foreign investment into Ireland, an increase of 28% since 2012. It also includes analysis on education, gender, wages and the regional distribution of FDI in Ireland.

Commenting on the publication, Senior Statistician, Christopher Sibley, said: "This experimental research has been developed to add value to official statistics by linking FDI figures across domains, in particular to Census, employment, and wage statistics, and is intended to highlight the relevance of FDI statistics more broadly.

Despite a decrease of €8.4bn in the stock of Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland between 2017 and 2018, at €874bn (270% of GDP), investment still remains high in comparison to other EU countries showing the highly globalised nature of the Irish economy.

In this year’s publication, we included new research on pass-through investment, complementing our analysis on the role of special purpose entities (SPEs) in Ireland’s FDI. It shows that, of the €874bn in FDI in Ireland, 36% can be attributed to investment which passes through Ireland en route to other subsidiaries and highlighting the nature of global investment.

Employment figures show growth across all sectors since 2012, with the largest growth (69% since 2012) recorded in the scientific and technical activities sector. In 2018, average wages in foreign-owned multinational enterprises (MNEs), at €54,000, were significantly higher than those paid by domestic firms (€37,000), but lower than those paid by Irish MNEs (€62,000). All sectors experienced wage growth, with the largest growth in the information and communication sector and the administration and support services sector, which experienced 29% growth and 25% growth respectively between 2012-2018.

Included in the publication for the first time is significant analysis on the make-up employment of FDI enterprises in Ireland. Using Census 2016 data, the educational attainment levels, nationality, and the regional distribution of employees of enterprises with investment from abroad is examined in detail.

This is the third time the CSO has published this experimental publication linking data across statistical domains. Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland 2018 looks at the role of investment into Ireland, its associated globalisation and its role in the Irish domestic economy. This publication brings together several different data sources designed to complement the annual and quarterly Foreign Direct Investment statistics presented in our International Accounts.”

For further information contact:

Paul Flynn (+353) 1 498 4291 or Christopher Sibley (+353) 1 498 4305

or email

-- ENDS --