Ericsson, the 35-year stalwart of Athlone technology, has announced a further expansion of its workforce with plans to employ a further 100 software engineers at its Blyry campus over the next two years, leading to a 12.5 per cent increase in its present workforce of 800.
Ericsson is now the biggest software house in Ireland, with more people writing software than any other company in Ireland. In addition, the Athlone campus is responsible for research and development operations in Hungary and India, and is the world number one provider of technology and services to telecom operators.
Curiously, this development will not see any capital expansion as the firm plans to facilitate this increase in existing office and design space, with the introduction of shared, moveable, mezzanine-like desks, a design feature adopted from the mother-firm in Sweden, and destined to be the company’s worldwide model.
This announcement came hot on the heels of another 40 high-tech jobs announced earlier in the week by Monksland-based WPA Mobile, whose recently won contracts in Europe will see the communications technology firm grow its employment base from 12 to 52.
Because of the high-end nature of these 140 jobs, it is unlikely the local live register of 4,000 will see much of a dent made on it, however the existence of the Athlone Institute of Technology should be able to provide a healthy share of this windfall to the region.
“If we are to get the economy growing and create the jobs of the future here in Ireland, we must ensure that we are providing all possible support to R&D (research and development ) projects by both Irish and multinational companies here,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.
“In last month's Jobs Initiative we announced a simple, technical, revenue-neutral change to the R&D tax credit which makes it much cheaper and more attractive for multinationals to locate this type of facility in Ireland and to employ researchers here,” he added.
“With the drive to improve the quality and diversity of mobile broadband services such as IP-TV and smart phone applications etc, we are growing our skill base in the intelligent network management area to enable our customers to provide a better end-user experience. Our aim is to sustain our leading position in mobile broadband by also providing leading-edge network management solutions,” said Ericsson's Managing Director in Ireland, Michael Gallagher.
“Supported by the IDA, we have a mandate which will create new employment and will help the sustainability of local operations,” he added.
“This announcement that 140 jobs are to be created in Athlone is a clear sign that the economy is making progress,” said Longford/Westmeath TD Nicky McFadden.
“This significant jobs boost for Athlone shows just how ideal the town is for business. I have always said that with its central location, transport links and highly skilled workforce, Athlone has the potential to play a huge role in Ireland’s economic recovery.”
“This is great news for the existing workers in the Athlone centre and further secures the company’s presence in Ireland and Athlone,” said Athlone’s incumbent mayor, Cllr Alan Shaw.