About

Sector Overview

Over the past thirty years, Ireland has built an international reputation as a centre of software excellence. The industry has two complementary elements: a strong presence of international companies that are global market leaders, and a larger number of indigenous companies who have achieved significant success on world markets. The Irish Digital and Software Technology Sector is recognised internationally as being highly innovative, technically expert, and commercially adept.

The industry at a glance:

  • The Irish digital and software technology sector is Ireland’s fastest growing sector, and is a key enabler for other sectors of the economy
  • There are now almost 730 indigenous software companies, employing over 10,000 people, and continuing to grow
  • Over 3,500 jobs have been announced by multinational and indigenous technology companies in the first 6 months of this year, and almost 20,000 jobs since January 2010
  • Indigenous total sales figures of software products & services have averaged an impressive 12% growth per annum over the past 6 years, and now stand at over €1.8 billion euro annually

Key strengths:


The development of the software industry in Ireland owes much to the enterprise environment, which provides a uniquely supportive ecosystem within which individual firms
can thrive. This includes:
  • Young, skilled workforce: The software sector in Ireland has been driven since its inception by the availability of a young, highly skilled and well-educated workforce. The future of the industry is underwritten by continued State investment in education and research.
  • Research and development: Over the past ten years, the Irish Government has substantially increased its investment in R&D, both in the third-level education institutions and in industry. Information and Communication Technologies is one of the two priority areas supported by Science Foundation Ireland. As a result of this and other initiatives, investment in third-level R&D has quadrupled, and business expenditure on R&D has also risen significantly.
  • Specialist Clusters: The software industry in Ireland has developed deep sectoral expertise in a number of specialist areas, including telecommunications, finance, and e-learning. Strong networks of companies within these clusters have ready access to leading-edge university-based R&D, and provide a solid base for future growth and development.
  • Multinational Presence: Almost all of the world’s leading software companies, including IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, have a significant presence in Ireland. Not only are these companies important exporters of software, they also contribute significantly to the development of the local skills base in software engineering, in the use of the latest technologies and platforms, in product management, and in marketing. Many of them also provide smaller, specialist companies with market access.
  • Cultural and geographic advantages: Ireland is a member of the EU, and also enjoys close ties with the US, particularly through the extensive Irish diaspora. Ireland is also ideally positioned within the Eurozone, while still having an overlap of working hours with both the west coast of the US and Japan.
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