Ireland fears getting swept away by wave of web giant layoffs
The numerous layoffs announced by Silicon Valley companies are raising fears in Ireland, where many of these digital giants are based.
Google recently cut 240 jobs in Ireland.
DUBLIN – In Silicon Docks, a former industrial district now home to many modern buildings, some Tech workers admit the excitement isn't what it used to be.
People are worried, admits a man we meet near the canal during his lunch break. He explains that he was just discussing the subject with a colleague.
Like their colleagues in California, many Irish employees of social media giants or other technology companies have suffered the consequences of recently announced restructuring plans.
Alphabet, Meta, Twitter, Salesforce, PayPal: the abolition of tens of thousands of positions has already been announced by the management of several companies. And if hundreds of workers are already affected in Ireland, we do not yet know the impact of all these announcements on the island.
Charlie Le Brun lost his job in the technology sector in the last few months.
We received a first email in November, telling us that […] to prepare for the recession, the box should reduce its costs, testifies Charlie Le Brun, a Frenchman who has been living for several years in Ireland who recently lost his job in an Irish company specializing in virtual payment.
“It's true that there are quite a few of my friends who are wondering, who are a little nervous at the moment, or even who are already starting to look for another job in anticipation of potential plans of dismissal.
— Charlie Le Brun, tech worker in Dublin
If the difficulties facing tech companies are causing so much fear in Ireland, it's because employees of this sector are those with the highest incomes in the country. In 2019, their payroll represented 8.5 billion euros.
“It is the high tech sector that is pushing the Irish economy to some pretty impressive growth rates.
—Antoin Murphy, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin
Emeritus Professor at Trinity College Antoin Murphy also attributes the transformation of the Irish economy over the last decades to the presence of multinationals, particularly digital ones.
This is quite recent, which is happening, because if you look at the Irish economy in the 1980s […] it was very rural, there was very little industry, he explains.
According to the expert, the presence of the island within the European Union and its young, English-speaking workforce have helped attract digital giants.
The Silicon Docks district in Dublin is home to several technology companies. Its name refers to the famous Silicon Valley in the United States.
Dublin has also developed a very advantageous tax system for companies.
Ireland has been criticized for the way its system has been used by multinationals to set up aggressive tax planning structures, a 2022 European Parliament report said, adding that in response to this phenomenon, Ireland has taken a series of measures to tackle tax avoidance.
By becoming dependent on the presence of foreign companies on its territory, the country is become too vulnerable to business decisions made thousands of miles from Dublin?
According to a recent analysis by Irish firm Goodbudy, taxes paid by ten multinational corporations, many but not all of which specialize in technology, account for 56% of the country's tax revenue.
L ireland is vulnerable to shocks to these businesses, it says. The authors of the report add that this highlights the need for diversification.
Economist Antoin Murphy explains that the tech sector has been instrumental in transforming the Irish economy.
But, according to Emeritus Professor Antoin Murphy, if it weren't for the multinationals, in my opinion the Irish economy would be in dire straits.
Nevertheless, for the moment, the challenge is great for workers in this sector, who, like Charlie Le Brun, are trying to find a new job.
There are a lot of people on the market, so it's always more difficult to immediately find a job, he notes about the current context, while remaining confident in the strength of the technology sector.
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