At a global level, the pace of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2022 showed signs of ongoing recovery following the shock effect of the pandemic. Data from fDi Markets shows that the number of FDI projects increased by 16% YoY despite soaring energy prices, rising inflation and weak economic growth.
The number of inbound FDI projects in Dublin grew by 15% YoY in 2021 and a further 3% YoY in 2022. While Dublin’s intake of FDI in 2022 was marginally lower (-2%) than its pre-pandemic total of 147 FDI projects in 2019, it was amongst the most resilient cities for FDI attraction. The Capital is competing directly with major cities in Europe to lure foreign investors and ranks amongst the top recipients of FDI.
The dynamic city region has attracted more FDI than Madrid, Amsterdam and Lisbon since 2019. Based on a study of six European cities for FDI attraction by inbound greenfield FDI projects between January 2019 and March 2023, Dublin ranked behind London and Paris but ahead of Madrid, Amsterdam and Lisbon. In terms of job creation and capital investment, Dublin ranked second to London over the same time period.
fDi Markets data shows that the combined number of ‘greenfield’ projects and job-creating expansions of existing projects in Dublin totalled 573 between 2019 and 2023 (see chart); worth an estimated €18.4bn, and creating some 47,600 jobs.
Number of FDI Projects by City (SA), 2019-2022
Service economy powers Dublin
The Irish capital’s strength lies in its technology and services economy. Between 2019 and 2023, Dublin ranked third behind only London and Paris by inbound FDI projects in the software and IT services and business services sectors. Combined, the software and IT services and business services sectors accounted for more than half (57%) of FDI projects in Dublin. Close to 22,000 tech jobs were created, indicating that one in every four tech jobs created across the sample group was based in Dublin.
Dublin also ranked first by capital invested in the software and IT services sector (estimated at €94bn). Its strong performance is also reflected in a top ranking in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The city region ranked joint top with Paris in the biotechnology sector by FDI project numbers. Dublin was the largest recipient of jobs and capital investment in the biotech sector thanks in large part to Pfizer’s €1.2bn investment at its Grange Castle facility, creating hundreds of new jobs.
Looking ahead, Dublin looks set to remain a strong performer for FDI in 2023. The city has attracted 20 FDI projects in Q1 alone, totalling $524m (both values SA).