Investment conference kick-started as EY confirms 1,000 new jobs

Announcing 1,000 new jobs at EY Northern Ireland is the firm's regional managing partner Rob Heron (second right) with (from left) Invest NI interim chief executive Mel Chittock, EY consulting partner Judith Savage, and Department for the Economy permanent secretary Mike Brennan
Announcing 1,000 new jobs at EY Northern Ireland is the firm's regional managing partner Rob Heron (second right) with (from left) Invest NI interim chief executive Mel Chittock, EY consulting partner Judith Savage, and Department for the Economy permanent secretary Mike Brennan

PROFESSIONAL services giant EY has revealed plans to hire 1,000 people in Belfast and Derry over the next five years in a £10 million investment which will see its workforce more than double to 1,900.

The jobs announcement - by far the biggest in Northern Ireland this year - has been revealed to kick-start a two-day investment conference in Belfast.

Hosted by the Department for Business and Trade, the summit has attracted delegates from the US, Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific.

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EY (formerly Ernst & Young) want to fill roles in cyber security, cloud computing, data analytics and generative AI, alongside more traditional areas of its business areas like audit, tax and transaction services.

When in place the new jobs, which will paid above-average salaries of £33,000, will boost the north's economy by at least £80 million a year.

Invest NI is contributing £4.6 million towards the investment and is also offering a support package around training, while 351 of the posts will be filled through a new EY Assured Skills Academy programme, which will provide opportunities for candidates to reskill and explore fresh career options.

“We're exceptionally proud of this announcement, and the most important thing is that jobs will be available for everyone right across Northern Ireland,” said EY Northern Ireland managing partner Rob Heron.

“The jobs are for business apprentices coming out of schools, for graduates, experienced hires, those looking to reskill, or those who've been out of work for a time and are looking to re-enter the workplace.

“And it won't just be Belfast which will benefit, because we are going to establish a hub in north west, where there is a wealth of talent,

“We haven't identified a specific location as yet, but are already looking at a number of options. We intend to make a separate announcement in the next few months. But having a hub in the north west gives us better access to the talent we know exists there.”

Recruitment for the first 100 positions has already begun.

“These roles are on our on website right now, so we're already off and running with great momentum. We'll be driven by demand and supply, and our intention is to move at pace,” added Mr Heron, who is due to address the conference at 10.15am on Wednesday.

He also revealed that the jobs could have gone to cities elsewhere in the UK, or even to locations in India, Poland or Spain.

“That the EY leadership team decided to choose Northern Ireland own to the strength of our practice, to the quality of the talent pipeline, and to the support package from Invest NI and Department for the Economy,” Mr Heron said.

“EY is the most globally integrated firm in the world. We are part of a global network of 365,000 people in 150 countries, which means we get to work with some of the biggest and best global clients and household brands, which is a really powerful combination.”

Frank O’Keeffe, EY UK and Ireland managing partner, said: “We are passionate about supporting our clients by investing heavily in our highly skilled and diverse workforce, which is why days like today are so special for us.

“EY has built an incredible business in Northern Ireland over decades, proudly providing a superb service to a broad range of clients across Ireland, the UK and our global network.

“These new jobs will help to strengthen Northern Ireland’s reputation as home to world-class universities and fantastic local talent and they will help to spotlight the region as an attractive hub for global business and future international investment.”

Economy department permanent secretary Mike Brennan said: “This EY announcement is excellent news and a further endorsement of Northern Ireland as a rising global player in the fintech and professional services sector.

“Assured Skills Academies will assist in filling 351 of these jobs across a range of roles and skills areas including data and analytics, cyber security, procurement and commercial contract management and project and programme management.

“Assured Skills Academies have a track record of equipping participants with the skills employers need to flourish and grow. Furthermore, participants on these academies who complete the training are guaranteed an interview for a role with EY and will be strongly positioned for success.”

And Invest NI's interim chief executive Mel Chittock added: “Over many years, Invest Northern Ireland has developed a strong, strategic partnership with EY’s local management, and we are delighted that the firm has chosen Northern Ireland against other competitive locations globally for this significant investment.

“It is clearly aligned with the objectives of the Department for the Economy’s 10X Economic Vision as securing this major mobile investment will contribute to a more regionally balanced economy by establishing a regional hub outside Belfast and a clear commitment by EY to positively provide opportunities for the economically inactive.

“It will also further raise the standing of Northern Ireland on the global stage, positioning it as a fintech and professional services powerhouse and helping to develop the innovation capabilities on which our future economy will be based.”