Following the recession and the subsequent bailout of the Irish economy by the EU, many people were very nervous about the impact that any austerity measures would have on the life science sector. Since the establishment of the drug industry was heavily based on the favourable investment climate, and in particular the low corporation tax, a lot was riding on the strings the bailout loan would come with. Crucially, the corporate tax rate remained unchanged, which was a welcome relief for the industry.
Thirteen of the largest 15 drugmakers - including Bayer, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Roche - have manufacturing sites in Ireland, making the island nation the biggest net exporter of drugs in the world and the biggest contributor of corporate tax in Ireland. This would have ordinarily meant that the job market would have been relatively unaffected, but as evidenced by a significant reduction in the number of workers employed in the industry, it is very much an employers' market. The reduction in workers is said to be due to part efficiency savings across the industry (a shift in focus from 'supply at any cost' to a more streamlined production process) and part industry consolidation.
So what is Ireland like to live in? Living in Ireland has a lot going for it: beautiful nature, beaches, lots of opportunity for outdoor pursuits, good schools and universities and friendly people renowned for their hospitality. Most of Ireland is rural and the pace of life is pleasantly laid back. For a more cosmopolitan feel, head to Dublin where the nightlife and sights rival many European capitals.
It is fair to say that the life sciences sector in Ireland has provided a significant part of the growth momentum of the Irish economy in the last two decades. Today, over 120 companies provide pharmaceutical jobs for over 20,000 people and export US$32 billion annually. This represents over 29% of Ireland's total exports - and makes Ireland the second biggest exporter in the world of pharmaceuticals. The skills most sought after at this time are biotechnology, biologists, microbiologists, biochemists, pharmacists, pharmacology and chemists.
The income tax in Ireland is amongst the lowest in the world and there is continuous lobbying to make it even lower. In fact, the three latest budgets in Ireland have all announced cuts in the income tax.
For more information about life and work in Ireland, see the links provided below:
If you would like to find out more about job opportunities in Ireland or for an informal discussion, please contact the local Hays Life Sciences office.