The list of semiconductor companies in Ireland is long and can be traced all the way back to General Electric’s foray into the European market way back in 1966. That was when the industry giant first opened a semiconductor plant in Dundalk paving the way for other international companies to view Ireland as a sustainable base of European operations.
Fast forward to today and the Irish semiconductor industry is one of the strongest in the country second only to the medtech and life sciences industry. The best semiconductor companies in Ireland such as Intel, Microchip Technology, and Analog Devices have not only established a solid foothold here on the Emerald Isle but they have flourished.
Intel recently announced that it would pump a further €12 billion into its Irish operations bringing the grand total of its investment here since 1989 to €42 billion. Meanwhile, Analog Devices announced that it would invest €100 million in a state-of-the-art facility at its Limerick campus increasing its local workforce by a further 250.
But what is it about Ireland that makes it such an ideal base for leading semiconductor businesses? And why are the existing semiconductor companies in Ireland so intent on staying here?
Here are five reasons why we think Ireland is attractive to both international heavyweights and local startups, and why the Irish semiconductor industry will continue to thrive for many years to come.
History and longevity
As mentioned earlier, Ireland has had an incredibly strong relationship with the semiconductor industry for decades. But it’s not just the industry heavyweights that have made Ireland their home. The heavy investment by those leading companies and manufacturers over many years has led to numerous smaller suppliers setting up shop locally to provide larger companies with the products and services they require. This includes everything from equipment suppliers to research and development teams who now call Ireland home.
In the world of business there are no guarantees, but the longevity of the semiconductor industry here in Ireland is as close as you can get to a sure thing for companies looking for a new base of operations.
Ireland’s strong semiconductor industry has led to multiple local startups achieving significant success in recent years. The local startup community is both strong and vibrant and has led to many small companies securing significant funding and quite a few major takeover deals. These include the likes of Commergy, ChipSensors, and Firecomms who were all acquired in multimillion-dollar deals. Just last year, Navitas Semiconductor raised over €331 million in capital thanks to a merger with Live Oak.
News like this is certainly music to the ears of would-be investors who not only see that the country has a strong startup community but that it has the local talent to back it up. And speaking of talent…
Talent and then some
For such a small and relatively sparsely populated country, Ireland has 34 higher-level education institutions. This includes seven Universities and 14 Institutes of Technology with an impressive nine of those ranked in the top 5% of higher education institutions across the globe.
Now, we are all keenly aware of the global talent shortage that could see as many as 85 million unfilled skilled positions by 2030. So when a company is looking for a long-term base of operations, access to local talent is a must-have. Not only does Ireland provide a strong pool of local talent skilled in STEM subjects but it also offers access to the European talent pool.
It’s also worth noting that Ireland is now the only predominantly English-speaking country with a significant talent pool that has unrestricted access to the European market.
Impressive research and development
It really should come as no surprise that in a country with such a successful semiconductor industry, research and development centres have stepped up to the plate. We mentioned this earlier, but it really is worth noting again that this industry success in Ireland has led to significant growth in the supplier and vendor industry. This growth has also resulted in higher numbers of local, highly skilled graduates entering the job market.
However, it’s not just about local startups helping out the larger companies based here. Ireland has also seen numerous big players in the semiconductor industry either set up their research and development teams in Ireland or acquire established R&D companies or facilities based here. For example, onsemi’s acquisition of SensL Technologies in 2018 saw the US company acquire a local R&D team and facility.
Those tax breaks
Ireland’s tax breaks for international companies looking to invest in the country are well documented so we won’t go into too much detail here. Suffice to say, they are welcomed with open arms and an extremely competitive tax structure. Ireland has the second lowest corporate tax rate in Europe at 12.5% with only Hungary offering a lower rate of 9%.
There’s also a 25% Research and Development tax credit which goes some way to explaining why many major companies choose to relocate their R&D teams here or invest in local companies.
Historically, Ireland has also been seen as a country with a supportive and transparent regulation structure for businesses. Add to that the fact that the government continues to offer significant support in other areas to companies that invest in Ireland and it’s easy to see why the country is such an attractive option.
If you’re interested in working for one of the many successful semiconductor companies in Ireland but have no idea how to start your journey, then get in touch with Software Placements. We’ve helped professionals from both Ireland and abroad take the next step in their career and would love to have a chat with you about your goals for the future.