Press Release 22 Feb 2013

Government builds on 2012 Plan with highly ambitious ‘Disruptive Reforms’, in partnership with industry, to make major impact on job-creation in 2013

The Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Jobs today [Friday] published Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the next step in the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy based on enterprise, innovation and exports.

The Plan, which contains 333 actions to be implemented in 2013 by 16 Government Departments and 46 agencies, will build on the progress made in 2012 and continue to improve supports for job-creating businesses and remove the barriers to employment-creation across the economy. These actions are additional to the 249 actions already implemented under Action Plan 2012, which have helped support net growth of almost 12,000 in private sector employment in the past year. In the three years to March 2011 a net 250,000 jobs were lost in the private sector.

In a major departure from the 2012 plan, Action Plan 2013 contains seven headline “Disruptive Reform” measures – high-impact measures with highly ambitious deadlines, implemented in partnership with senior industry figures and selected because of their potential to have a significant effect on job-creation:

  • JobsPlus – over two years the State will pay €1 of every €4 it costs an employer to recruit a long-term unemployed person off the Live Register
     
  • ICT Skills – provide an additional 2,000 ICT graduate level professionals in 2013, and by 2018 lead Europe in terms of ICT graduates as a percentage of all third level graduates
     
  • Energy Efficiency – the Government will create a €70million Energy Efficiency Fund  to support 20 major projects in 2013 and ultimately create 5,000 jobs
     
  • Trading Online – get 2,000 more small businesses trading online in 2013 and 2014, with the creation of 3,200 jobs
     
  • Business Licences – create a single licensing application system for up to 25 licences in the retail sector, saving retailers over €20million per annum
     
  • Big Data – make Ireland one of the leading countries in Europe for Big Data, a sector growing by up to 40% per annum
     
  • Health Innovation Hub – Government will establish a world-renowned centre to establish Ireland as a leading location for start-up and growing medtech and healthcare companies

As part of the new approach to these major projects, six senior industry figures with track records of developing businesses and creating jobs will be appointed to bring their experience and skills to bear on implementing the Disruptive Reforms and on Government jobs and enterprise policy more generally. These leading figures from a mix of multinational and indigenous industry are being asked to help to drive implementation and efficiencies and identify new opportunities for cooperation with the private sector. These individuals will also join a newly reconfigured National Competitiveness Council.

Other measures to be delivered in 2013 under the Plan include:

  • Foreign Direct Investment – IDA to target more than 130 new investments, secure €500million worth of R&D investment and help create 13,000 new jobs in 2013
     
  • Indigenous Companies – Enterprise Ireland will as part of a comprehensive programme of supports, financially support 155 high potential and early-stage start-ups, assist 300 companies develop new overseas markets through the Potential Exporters Division and will support over 1,000 companies on management development programmes
     
  • Global Sourcing – €500million in additional contracts in 2013 for Irish companies from multinationals based here
     
  • Access to Finance – By end 2013 new Government finance schemes worth over €2billion will be lending to businesses; pillar bank lending targets for 2013 increased to €4billion; Credit Review Office strengthened
     
  • Costs – New Government policy statement on economic regulation; the landmark Companies Bill will make it cheaper to start and run a company; and the Workplace Relations Commission that will merge five worker relations bodies into two will be operational by the second half of the year.
     
  • Science/research – through SFI, provide support to five new Research Centres of major scale, involving Government investment of over €150 million and leveraging an industry contribution of over 30%
     
  • Sectors – continue to target employment growth in key sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture/food, aviation and cloud computing.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said:

"The Government's top priority is to get Ireland working again.  The Action Plan for Jobs 2013 is central to our job creation ambitions as we seek to increase the number of new jobs by 100,000 by 2016.  The previous Government built an economy based on debt and property that collapsed like a house of cards.  We are rebuilding our economy brick-by-brick, making it stronger, ensuring that successes gained are here for the long term.

"The Action Plan for Jobs will continue to focus on our traditional enterprise sectors along with new growth industries.  It will target small Irish businesses and new start-ups as well as the biggest multinational companies.  This year's plan will contain a number of landmark, step-change projects that will act as exemplars to enterprise as we rebuild an enterprise-focused economy.  We have a plan.  We are implementing it.  And we will see it through until we get Ireland working again."

An Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore TD, said:

“Through the Action Plan for Jobs all government departments and agencies are working together to ensure that we remain focused on our primary goal – to create jobs and tackle unemployment. For my own part, as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I am working hard to develop our trade strategy in priority markets to create opportunities for our indigenous business. 

“Creating jobs for our people and equipping the unemployed to move into employment will remain top priorities for this Government.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in Government to implement the wide range of actions set out in this 2013 Action Plan for Jobs”.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said:

“The Action Plan for Jobs is aimed at supporting the transition from the old, failed economy reliant on property, banking and debt to a new, sustainable, jobs-rich economy based on enterprise, exports and innovation. In the twelve months since we launched the first plan that transition has been gathering momentum, with 12,000 net jobs added in the private sector and a record year for job-creation by exporting companies in multinational and indigenous sectors.

“In this year’s plan we are building on those achievements and raising our ambitions. 333 new actions to support business, reduce costs, improve access to finance and target growth sectors will be delivered this year by 16 Departments and 46 Agencies. More importantly, we will also implement seven Disruptive Reforms, in areas which can have an immediate impact such as ICT skills and retail, to challenge the system and deliver ambitious change to support job-creation.

“The results from the 2012 make this much clear – the plan is working.  However we have a long way to go. The challenge now is to build on the progress we have made, work harder, deliver more ambitious change – and we are determined to do that to tackle our number one priority and create the jobs we need”.

Action Plan for Jobs can be accessed at http://www.djei.ie/publications/2013APJ.pdf

The accompanying Tables of Actions can be accessed at http://www.djei.ie/publications/2013APJ_Annex.pdf

The development of this whole of Government Plan which involves 16 Government Departments and 46 Agencies was coordinated by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Forfás. Industry Partners

The Government is appointing six Industry Partners to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the seven “Disruptive Reforms” identified by Government for implementation in 2013.

The six Industry Partners will join the Action Plan for Jobs Implementation and Monitoring Group, a grouping of high level officials and advisers, co-chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Jobs.

The six Industry Partners will bring their collective skills and experience to bear in monitoring the implementation of the Disruptive Reforms, help identify opportunities for greater efficiency in the delivery of the proposals and help deliver synergies within the private sector.

In parallel with their role on the APJ Implementation Group the Industry Partners will be appointed to sit on a newly reconfigured National Competitiveness Council.

The names of the industry partners will be announced shortly.

Action Plan for Jobs 2012

Action Plan for Jobs 2012 was published by Government in February 2012, and provided a comprehensive framework for actions across Government and the public sector to support economic growth and job creation. To deliver on this, the Plan outlined 270 actions to be undertaken in 2012 by 15 Government Departments and 36 Agencies. Each of the associated measures specified the Government Department or Agency responsible for implementation, and the quarterly deadline in 2012 by which they would be delivered.

In order to drive implementation of the measures, the Government established a Monitoring Committee comprising representatives of the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Forfás and the Tánaiste’s office. The final quarterly progress report was published in recently, showing that 249 out of 270 actions (92%) were delivered on time in 2012.

Action Plan for Jobs 2013

Action Plan 2013, published today, outlines 333 actions to be implemented before 31st December 2013 by 16 Departments and 46 Agencies. Further, it also outlines 7 Disruptive Reforms - high-impact measures with highly ambitious deadlines, implemented in partnership with senior industry figures and selected because of their potential to have an immediate effect on job-creation.

These are seven initiatives which the Government believes can have a significant impact on job creation, present new opportunities to support businesses, and where Ireland has an existing or under‐utilised strength. These Disruptive Reforms represent a new way of creating focus on opportunities which require support across a number of Government Departments. The goals attached to them are ambitious in nature and they have aggressive timescales in which they will be delivered. They will also require new ways of working.

The Government will seek private sector involvement in driving the delivery of these Disruptive Reforms. To this end, where appropriate, the Government will appoint private sector business people who offer their time on a pro bono basis to help steer the delivery of these initiatives.

Individuals will be selected based on their knowledge of one or more areas covered by the initiatives, but will work as a group in their oversight to ensure as broad a mix of skills as possible are brought to bear. While delivery of these initiatives remains the responsibility of line Departments and the agencies identified in the action plans associated with each initiative, the private sector group will be tasked with monitoring progress of the Disruptive Reforms, the identification of opportunities for efficiency in their delivery and the identification of synergies within the private sector. This group will support the current Action Plan Monitoring Committee – consisting of the Department of An Taoiseach, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Forfás. The Office of the Tánaiste is also represented on the Monitoring Committee.

The seven Disruptive Reforms, described in more detail in the main body of the report, are:

 1. Big Data ‐ Make Ireland the leading country in Europe for Big Data

It is estimated that data collected and generated by companies and governments is growing by approximately 40% per year. Global companies that leverage this data smartly have createdsignificant value; estimates suggest c.4% higher productivity, c.6% higher profitability, and up to 50% greater market share. In the US alone, it is estimated that there will be unmet demand in 5 to 10 years of 140,000 – 190,000 analysts and 1.5 million data‐savvy managers.

The aim of this initiative is to exploit the employment potential of data analytics and Big Data in Ireland by investing heavily in new research facilities in this space, establishing a new industry led Technology Centre, commencing new Government initiatives where big data analytics are used to deliver solutions to public service challenges, putting in place the skills needed to sustain this new opportunity and finally, establishing a joint industry/Government task force to co‐ordinate the delivery of these measures.

2. ICT Skills ‐ Provide an additional 2,000 ICT graduate level professionals in 2013

The EU Foresight Study (Anticipating the Development of the Supply and Demand of eSkills in Europe in 2010‐2015), anticipates that the EU labour market may face an excess demand of 384,000 ICT practitioners by 2015 ‐ equivalent to 8% of the total ICT practitioners workforce.

In response to this skills gap, by 2018 Ireland aims to have the highest percentage of computing graduates as a proportion of all tertiary graduates. We will begin that process in 2013, through a process of; increased programme places, reskilling and conversion courses and through targeted migration of key skills groups. Through these mechanisms, we will deliver an additional 2,000 ICT graduate‐level professionals available to industry.

3. Business Licenses ‐ Create a single Licensing Application System for the retail sector

Last year Forfás completed a review of 159 licenses for key sectors of business generally and concluded that the burden was unnecessarily high and that a rationalisation of licenses could take place and that the compliance burden for industry could be reduced by up to one third.

In addition, recent economic studies suggest that the cost for up to 6,000 local convenience stores of various licensing and inspection requirements is in the region of €40m per annum.

To begin that wider process of business license regulatory burden reduction in 2013, Government will established a single web based portal where retailers can register once and apply for up to 25 separate licenses, thereby significantly reducing the administrative burden on each retailer.

4. Trading Online ‐ Get two thousand more small businesses trading online

Less than one quarter of Irish SMEs are trading online which is contributing to Ireland having an online trade deficit where 70 per cent of our online spending is going out of the state.

McKinsey research has shown that SMEs who adopt internet trading grow twice as fast and export twice as much when compared to non‐adopting businesses. Therefore, online trading represents a significant opportunity for Irish SMEs to reach new markets and grow new business.

To help realise this opportunity for Irish SMEs, an online trading voucher will be introduced in 2013 to the value of €2,500, to help get more SMEs trading online.

5. JobsPlus ‐ Introduce a new Incentive Scheme to Encourage Business to Recruit Long Term Unemployed

There are already a suite of measures that support employers to employ or provide access to the labour market for those on the Live Register but there has been low take‐up of some schemes to‐date. For that reason the existing PRSI exemption and Revenue Tax Assist schemes will be replaced by a simplified initiative. The objective with the new JobsPlus scheme is to provide a simple, easily understood and attractive scheme that will encourage employers to recruit from the cohort of the long term unemployed.

From an employer perspective, the typical value of the incentive over a two year period is circa 23 per cent of the gross minimum wage cost – in effect the State will pay €1 of every €4 it costs the employer to recruit the person off the Live Register. The new incentive will be payable, on a monthly in arrears basis, over a two year period.

It is also proposed to bias the incentive in favour of the more long term unemployed so that the value of the incentive will be set at two levels:

  • In respect of recruits unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months: €7,500
  • In respect of recruits unemployed for more than 24 months: €10,000

6. Energy Efficiency ‐ Transform Ireland into one of the most energy efficient economies in Europe by 2020

Energy efficiency can play a vital role in reducing the cost of energy for businesses and domestic consumers. Ireland currently spends in the region of €6 billion per annum on imported fossil fuels. This represents 3.8% of our GDP (4.7% of GNP). With international fuel prices on an upward trajectory, there is a strong incentive for Irish businesses, public sector organisations and domestic consumers alike to reduce their energy consumption.

Recognising this threat, and opportunity – the SEAI estimates that every €15 million invested by Government in energy efficiency grant programmes supports the creation and retention of 1,000 jobs ‐ the Government will create an Energy Efficiency Fund in 2013 to accelerate Ireland’s energy efficiency performance. This fund will support up to 20 significant demonstrator projects in 2013 which will act as exemplars in the adoption of energy efficiency and management techniques across both the public and commercial sectors. The number of projects of this nature will be scaled up significantly in 2014 and subsequent years.

7. Health Innovation Hub ‐ Establish a world renowned National Health Innovation Hub

Ireland has a cluster of some of the largest and most dynamic medical device and pharmaceutical companies in the world. Nine of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world have a base in Ireland, as do eight of the top 10 medtech companies. The life sciences sector in Ireland accounts for over 50,000 jobs and €50 billion worth of exports. Also, the life sciences sector is supported and complemented by world class research institutions and health professionals working in our hospitals.

Building on the learning and experience from a Demonstrator Project based in Cork, which commenced in 2012, Ireland will establish a world renowned National Health Innovation Hub

to drive collaboration between the health system and the enterprise sector leading to the development and commercialisation of new healthcare technologies, products and services, emerging from within the health system and/or the enterprise sector. In so doing, we will establish Ireland as a leading location for Irish and international start‐up and growing medtech and healthcare companies.

For further information:

Conor Quinn, Press Adviser to Minister Bruton – 087-3743783

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation - Ph: 01-6312200; e-mail: press.office@djei.ie