By Graham Fahy
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Microsoft's LinkedIn on Thursday said it would add 800 new roles to its European headquarters in Dublin, the latest major jobs announcement that capped off a record six months for foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ireland.
Similar boosts at Facebook and Salesforce contributed to a 19% year-on-year jump in the number of jobs announced so far in 2019, the state agency competing to win foreign business said, attributing the surge to Ireland's "stable political and economic environment."
The strong performance underscores the strength of Ireland's economic recovery, with a robust jobs market approaching full employment despite risks from a slowdown in global growth and neighbouring Britain's planned exit from the European Union.
"Ireland's position for companies going forward is that we will be in Europe and at the centre of Europe, and I think that resonates," IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan told a news conference as it also launched an international advertising campaign to highlight the country's continued EU membership.
"Our stability and sure-footedness and our consistent pro-enterprise policies are standing Ireland in good stead," said Shanahan, who on Thursday committed to leading the agency for another five years.
Foreign companies account for around one in 10 jobs among Ireland's more than two million workers, benefiting from a corporate tax rate of just 12.5%.
Three years ago the European Commission ordered Ireland to recover 13 billion euros from Apple, saying the iPhone maker had received unfair tax incentives in breach of its state aid rules. Apple and Dublin dispute the ruling and are appealing.
But it has done little to slow the flow of multinational jobs into Ireland, with the amount of new roles growing at a record pace last year. The 13,500 jobs announced to date in 2019 represented more than FDI firms added in the whole of 2013, when Ireland's economic recovery took off.
The jobs at LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, will increase its Irish-based workforce to 2,000 over the next year. The company's new 150,000 square foot head office in the capital will be completed by the end of 2020.
Facebook, which is building a 14-acre campus in the city, said in January that it would hire 1,000 more people in Dublin this year. U.S. cloud software maker Salesforce has also said it planned to add 1,500 jobs over the next five years, one of the largest job commitments in the 70-year history of the IDA.
(Reporting by Graham Fahy, editing by Deepa Babington and Alexandra Hudson)