Receive free EY updates
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest EY news every morning.
Professional services firm EY will add more than 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland in the next five years, more than doubling its employment in the region as it trims jobs and pay elsewhere in the UK.
The jobs, announced as a UK government-sponsored investment summit in Belfast gets under way on Wednesday, will be a mixture of experienced, entry-level and school-leaving roles in cyber security, data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, risk, tax, auditing and consultancy.
EY said it would also create a hub in the north-west of the region, one of the poorest parts of Northern Ireland, that already underperforms much of the UK.
The UK Department of Business and Trade said the new jobs, in Belfast and in the north-west of the country, would contribute at least £33mn in annual salaries to Northern Ireland’s economy once in place.
EY last month told staff in the UK to expect less-generous pay rises than last year and is launching a small round of redundancies as it faces rising costs and a difficult economic outlook.
EY already employs 900 people in Northern Ireland. It said the hub was designed to attract talent from across the region, and it would work with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy (DfE) to run an Assured Skills Academy programme targeting those seeking to reskill, change or resume careers, as well as recent graduates.
Mel Chittock, interim chief executive of Invest NI, the region’s investment agency, said a hub outside Belfast would help create a “more regionally balanced economy” and provide opportunities for those not at work or seeking work in the region. The so-called economically inactive make up 27 per cent of Northern Ireland’s working-age population, official data shows.
The conference, which has attracted 200 delegates, including from the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, is intended to showcase Northern Ireland as an investment destination with unique access to both the EU and UK markets for goods after Brexit.
The US is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Northern Ireland and the region landed 33 new FDI projects in 2022-23, creating 1,416 new jobs.
Kemi Badenoch, UK business and trade secretary, called the region “one of the most exciting places to invest in the world with its unique trading position and deep expertise in industries of the future”.