US software company Bazaarvoice to create 168 new jobs in Belfast
A LEADING US software company has chosen Belfast ahead of international rivals as the location for its new European base, creating 168 high-skilled jobs.
Texas based Bazaarvoice, Inc is the latest multi-national firm to set up operations in the city's growing IT and tech sector, with the major investment set to add almost £5.5 million annually in salaries to the Northern Ireland economy.
Founded in 2005, Bazaarvoice works with over 5,000 major high-street brands and retailers across the UK, Europe and the US, including Argos, Debenhams and Boots, to provide them with precious insights on consumer purchasing habits online through collecting and analysing consumer-generated content (CGC), like ratings and reviews.
The company employs over 700 staff worldwide in its offices across North America and Europe, with the 168 new jobs in Belfast to include software engineering, sales and customer service staff positions.
The average salary for the roles in Belfast is £32,435, with five software engineers already recruited and around 20 expected to be in place before the end of the year. The remainder are due to be place within three years.
Bazaarvoice has yet to find a suitable permanent location for its Belfast office, but in the interim they will be based within Arthur House in the city centre.
Executive vice president of engineering at Bazaarvoice Gary Allison said Belfast secured the investment ahead of major international players, including the Republic of Ireland.
"We did look at many locations around the world. It came down really to southern Ireland and Northern Ireland. It was a difficult decision for us, but at the end of the day the talent that's here in Belfast was really, really compelling for us."
“Northern Ireland was able to offer high quality technical staff with relevant industry skills, as well as a stable ICT sector, to support our growth plans. We were also impressed by the low staff turnover rates here."
Mr Allison added that the prospect of a 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate was another selling point.
"We think it's going to happen so we're scaling this operation over time. We're not dependant on the tax benefits immediately, but it should play well into our plans by the time it happens."
The multi-million investment from Bazaarvoice is supported by £1.3 million of government support towards the new jobs and skills development, £1 million of which is from business development agency Invest NI.
Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton said the jobs were a boost for the entire Northern Ireland workforce, with skill training to be provided to allow unemployed and under-employed non-IT graduates to enter the ICT workforce.
“We fought off stiff competition to secure this project for Northern Ireland. Not only is this great for our ICT sector but will provide excellent employment opportunities for unemployed, graduates and experienced staff.”