Is Ireland’s tech job boom ending? If so, is it a “soft landing”? Or is this all just a temporary blip in a long-term uptrend that will continue?
The answer often depends on who employs the economist, industry analyst, or pollster you’re asking.
What is clear, however, is that a hiring freeze is underway at some of the country’s largest blue-chip tech multinationals. Google and Meta together employ nearly 13,000 people in Dublin. Both have cut their hiring plans this year.
Microsoft, Apple and Salesforce have also signaled a slowdown in hiring.
Others are actually downsizing, which has been a rarity in Dublin’s multinational tech scene. Crypto specialist Coinbase has slashed its payroll by 18 percent, including staff at its Dublin office. The e-commerce company Clearco, whose CEO said Independent.ie in March it hired 125 additional employees to complement the 75 employees already here who had just retired from the country and relocated to North America.
Even one of the local ‘unicorn’ heroes, Intercom, has felt the cold economic wind and laid off around 20 employees in Dublin as part of a company-wide 5 per cent downsizing.
So is the party over?
IDA insists that is not the case, citing high levels of foreign investment in the first half of the year. But as noted, those announcements were the result of decisions mostly made over the last year, when tech companies were still bulletproof engines of growth.
When bringing your tech company to Europe, Dublin is now the most obvious place to set it up as a regulatory base
However, there are still some large multinationals that seem to be continuing with large-scale recruitment campaigns here. TikTok is the most obvious example, saying it will continue to grow from 2,000 to 3,000 people in Dublin this year despite ugly economic headwinds that are forcing others to turn their heads.
One might note that TikTok is a pretty unique case, as it’s the fastest growing social media company in the world — even a recession can’t stop it from gobbling up large chunks of Instagram and Snapchat’s business.
Any real reasons why a tech recession might not hit Ireland too hard? To a certain extent, yes. Dublin has emerged as one of the world’s data regulation capitals, a consequence of how the GDPR was primarily set up around the regulators of the “leading countries”. This creates a kind of magnet, especially for Internet companies. When bringing your tech company to Europe, Dublin is now the most obvious place to set it up as a regulatory base.
The other reason is the range of companies that are already here. If you believe, like Stripe’s Collison brothers, that a long-term online and e-commerce transition is underway, there are few more obvious industry bets than the tech industry.
But what we do know for now is that the sector has cooled down. And by the usual blue-eyed standards of tech industry titans, there’s an unusual amount of doom and gloom.
“If I had to bet, I’d say this could be one of the worst downturns we’ve seen in recent history,” Mark Zuckerberg recently told employees.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/as-google-and-meta-freeze-hiring-plans-is-the-irish-tech-jobs-boom-about-to-end-41983772.html With Google and Meta freezing hiring plans, is the Irish tech jobs boom about to end?