Adrian Weckler: 'Three reasons why capital gets technology jobs'
Tech companies are driving much of the country's jobs growth at present. Unfortunately, most won't consider anywhere outside Dublin.
There are three reasons for this, according to what I've learned from years of asking senior executives about it.
The first is a mass concentration of skills in the capital. Companies thinking of setting up shop in Ireland, whether they come from abroad or are homegrown, know that there's a much better chance of hiring qualified professionals around Dublin. That's because Google, Facebook and dozens of other firms - employing tens of thousands of highly prized people - are already here. Several bosses in recently arrived US tech companies have said this over and over: they need to be around Dublin to poach crucial staff from the big players.
A second reason that Dublin almost always wins in jobs contests is infrastructure, including air travel and broadband. No other Irish city has anything close to the variety and frequency of international flights into the capital. For big companies with dozens (or hundreds) of weekly travellers, this is very important. It also makes Dublin a much easier sell to important prospective staff they need to relocate to Dublin from other European cities. One flight home, operating daily, is a far more effective sales pitch than two flights, or one flight a week, or a flight and a bus.
Then there is broadband. Let's be blunt: there are no broadband worries in Dublin. In almost every other region, it's a concern. Venture 8km outside Limerick, Cork or Galway and you're in the communications Stone Age with sub-standard internet connectivity and weak, patchy mobile signals. While the Government has promised a National Broadband Plan to ameliorate this, there are signs it may not be delivered for a while yet. If you're setting up a tech firm, why take a chance?
Lastly, there's the allure of the bigger city for young people. It's just a fact of life that bigger, more cosmopolitan places appeal to young, single professionals.