Friday 28 July 2017

Facebook to double staff in Dublin expansion

Facebook currently employs 1,600 people in its Grand Canal Square premises, but expects to fill that over the next 12 months. Photo: Bloomberg
Facebook currently employs 1,600 people in its Grand Canal Square premises, but expects to fill that over the next 12 months. Photo: Bloomberg
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook plans to almost double its workforce in Dublin after confirming that it has signed a deal for an additional office building in the city.

The move means that almost 10,000 of Dublin city's industrial jobs will soon be provided by two companies - Facebook and Google.

It could also spark a new property boom in Dublin's East Wall area, where the tech giant's new facility will be located.

Facebook's Irish boss, Gareth Lambe, says that its new property in Dublin's north docklands has space for 800 additional staff.

Facebook currently employs 1,600 people in its Grand Canal Square premises, but expects to fill that over the next 12 months.

"In our existing building, we have the capacity for 2,000 people.

"But we have now reached over 1,600 and we're growing so fast that it's filling up, so we've taken space for another 800 desks in a new building in East Wall with growth over the next few years in mind," he said.

Mr Lambe, who also runs sales forecasting and other strategic functions for Facebook across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia, added: "Over the next number of years, if the business and platform continue to grow, we expect to continue to grow pretty substantially in Ireland.

"It's by far our largest footprint of any country in the world outside our Silicon Valley headquarters."

Mr Lambe said that the Dublin operation's success is the reason for extra investment from Facebook.

"The business is growing pretty dramatically. Our last earnings showed growth of over 50pc year on year.

"When you're growing users and business as fast as that, we [in Ireland] need to scale up. We've been very successful here in Ireland at delivering results for Facebook. So we continue to get investment."

Mr Lambe denied that recent industrial nationalist rhetoric from US president Donald Trump had any bearing on Facebook's expansion plans here.

"It certainly has had no impact on our investment decisions for now, as evidenced by everything we're doing around our buildings and acquisitions," he said.

"We're a global company and we need to service our regions within those regions and languages and with knowledge of the cultural norms."

However, Mr Lambe said that the company is "watching" the shortage of housing in Dublin and said that it might become a problem.

"It would be a concern for the future, both in the affordability and the availability," he said. "In five years' time, will we have the infrastructure to accommodate future growth?

"That said, it hasn't been an issue to date in that we've managed to scale effectively here. We were 30 people in 2009 and now we're 1,600 with plans for expansion. But it's certainly something we're watching for the future."

Mr Lambe said that the company's new location in Dublin's inner north city may rejuvenate the area. "Us moving there is a statement for the area," he said. "We see that area as having a lot of potential, a lot like the current area [the Grand Canal basin] 10 or 15 years ago. We considered places with lower costs on the outskirts of Dublin. But because we'll be moving some people from this building to the new one, we wanted to keep disruption to a minimum."

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