It’s hardly surprising that big tech and e-commerce, sectors that have a reputation for valuing their employees, feature prominently in Ireland’s 150 Best Employers 2022. Google (1st), LinkedIn (3rd) and eBay (4th). But it’s not just ‘new’ industries that lead up the list – so too do a wide range of sectors including transport, healthcare, electronics, aviation, construction, aviation and retail.
Google’s Dublin campus is right at the beating heart of the city’s thriving Silicon Docks, the Irish equivalent of Silicon Valley, and is home to a diverse community of so-called Googlers.
Google, which employs 4,000 staff in Dublin and another 4,000 people through agencies and contractor arrangements, recently told its staff to work at least three days a week in the office from April 25.
Given some of the perks Google Ireland’s workforce are no strangers to, perhaps it is no wonder that last year’s No1 has made it two-in-a-row.
The tech giant offers free on-site meals and snacks as well as access to a wellness centre equipped with a pool and a gym.
2 Irish Wheelchair Association
The Irish Wheelchair Association is Ireland’s largest organisation for people with physical disabilities. The charity, which last year was fifth, has shot up the rankings to finish runner-up.
It provides a nationwide assisted living service, community centres in every county, a fleet of accessible buses, a national parking permit and driving school service and wheelchair-accessible social houses and helps young people with disabilities to build employability skills and confidence.
The IWA, which employs 2,500 people across every county — many working directly with service users — offers crucial frontline services to those in need.
Professional social media behemoth LinkedIn has shot up in this year’s list, from ninth last year.
The company’s Irish operations have grown substantially since it started in Dublin in 2010. It now employs around 2,000 staff at Wilton Place.
LinkedIn currently has more than 160 open roles advertised for Dublin.
It prides itself on its employee benefits, resources and well-being initiatives. It offers an “InDay” each month, allowing staff to invest in themselves or volunteer for a cause or charity they are passionate about. It promotes internal networking, self-care and a fertility assistance programme.
Since entering the Irish market in 2004, US online retail giant eBay now has 900 staff in Blanchardstown, Dublin, and working remotely.
The company had a sizeable operation in Dundalk, Co Louth, with 150 staff, which it closed a few years ago following a split with PayPal.
However, eBay’s European headquarters has strengthened, with the company shooting upward in this year’s ranking from 16th place last year.
In April, Siobhán Curtin, director of customer operations for the UK and Ireland, was announced as the tech giant’s new site lead in Ireland.
Ms Curtin has worked at eBay since 2004, when she started as a customer services representative.
5 Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail
Irish Rail was breaking records before the pandemic — the kind that the subsidiary of state-owned Córas Iompar Éireann Group would like to break again.
It recorded 50.1 million passenger journeys across its services in 2019, generating €233.8m in fares.
These figures unsurprisingly took a battering during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Covid’s influence on society wanes and office workers re-emerge from virus-enforced cocoons, Irish Rail will be gearing up for high demand once again.
The National Transport Authority has said that in some areas where fares have recently been reduced, passenger numbers are now ahead of pre-pandemic levels
Last year, Irish Rail came third on the list.
6 Irish Cancer Society
Founded by Dr Austin Darragh in 1963, the Irish Cancer Society has grown into a national charity providing cancer services and information to help with early detection.
The charity, like many others in the sector, has surged on this year’s best employers list.
It has jumped from 21st last year to sixth this year.
The Irish Cancer Society has around 375 employees, including around 200 Night Nurses.
It is also a community of patients, survivors, volunteers, supporters, health and social care professionals and researchers determined to help anyone affected by cancer in Ireland.
In 1980, just two days before Christmas, Steve Jobs arrived in Cork to cut the ribbon on Apple’s new European home from home.
Since then, Apple, which is Cork’s largest employer, has played a massive role in the Irish economy. It employs around 6,000 staff, with 386 companies also acting as suppliers. Its Irish team has doubled in size over the past five years and includes more than 80 different nationalities.
Since 2012, Apple has invested nearly €220m to develop its Hollyhill campus.
It has also expanded again with a new building that provides space for 1,400 employees.
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, has raced up the list, having finished 15th in 2020.
Microsoft, in Ireland since 1985, employs 2,800 people here, many at the 34,000sqm campus at One Microsoft Place in Dublin’s Leopardstown. From there it carries out software development, engineering to operations, finance, HR and digital sales and marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The €134m building is designed around ‘neighbourhoods’, with open spaces and relaxation zones for staff, and includes a purpose-built education hub called Dream Space.
A second new building, Microsoft’s Engineering Hub, was completed in 2020 following a €27m investment and the creation of 200 new jobs. At the heart of the new space is The Garage, where engineers, developers, creators, artists and makers have freedom to innovate and experiment.
Global recruitment firm Indeed opened its Dublin office in 2012 with an initial staff of 100 employees. Originally established in 2004 in Austin, Texas and Stamford, Connecticut as a search engine for jobs, it is now accessed by more than 100 million unique visitors each month.
It currently employs more than 1,000 people after moving its EMEA headquarters into fancy new offices at Capital Dock in 2019, coinciding with a big expansion of staff numbers. That made the Irish operation the firm’s largest outside the US — and there may be further growth to come.
During the pandemic, Indeed sub-let part of its older Dublin base at St Stephen’s Green, but said at the time that it was holding on to that office to provide space for future long-term growth plans.
The pandemic was tough on grocery staff who found themselves on the Covid-19 frontline. However, while others were losing their jobs, grocery retailers such as Aldi were doing everything they could to hold on to staff.
The German discounter employs over 4,600 people here across 145 stores with almost 13pc of the grocery market.
Aldi works with over 330 Irish suppliers across the country. Irish profits jumped 46pc last year, and Aldi in Ireland — with sales close to €2bn in 2020 — was over 70pc more profitable than in Britain.
Little wonder the retailer is investing €320m to build 30 new stores.
Staff too have benefitted, with an increase in hourly rates to €14.90. It has long claimed to be the best-paying supermarket in the country.
Founded in 1982 in San Jose, California, Adobe has long been synonymous with digital creativity and the move from ink to bytes. It is behind everything from creative software such as Illustrator and Photoshop to the humble PDF.
Its digital tools are ubiquitous in creative media, and this has proven incredibly lucrative. Of its global employee base of 26,000, the firm employs just 250 people at Citywest and Naas Road in Dublin, but that comes nowhere close to describing the importance of Ireland to Adobe’s overall operation.
It was reported last September that an Irish subsidiary paid its US parent a $2.8bn (€2.6bn) dividend in 2020.
12 Dublin Bus
Public transport — or at least the bus — is having a moment, with fares coming down and the beginnings of the new BusConnects plan starting to appear on the capital’s streets. Happy passengers makes life easier for staff, and this translates into a better workplace. Drivers won plaudits for keeping the wheels turning during Covid, ensuring essential staff could get to hospitals and supermarkets.
The company, which has long prided itself on a proactive approach to employment diversity among its almost 3,500 staff, is now becoming a flag-bearer for sustainability. Critics might argue that carbon-emitting double-deckers should long ago have been banished from the streets, but bright new plug-in hybrid buses are beginning to appear in increasing numbers.
Brands come and go, and DPD popped up in just about every housing estate in the country over the past two years as people turned in huge numbers to online shopping.
The firm delivered more than 22 million packages in Ireland last year, up from 17 million in 2020. Owned by Groupe La Poste, the French postal service, DPD and its main rivals have become the backbone of the online economy.
With volumes increasing by 47pc in 2020, the firm is spending €30m on a new hub to boost capacity for online deliveries. The growth in the business has also seen it hire at least 800 people over the past year and its workforce is now over 2,000.
Pfizer stopped being merely a brand name and took on a resonance of hope over the past two years. Of all the vaccines brought to market to help get Covid-19 under control, the Pfizer vaccine was the one that caught the public imagination.
The vaccine may not have been developed in its Irish facilities (although its Ringaskiddy site has a role in a new Covid-19 pill), but Pfizer’s presence here has certainly played a part in Ireland becoming a global pharma hub.
In 2020, Pfizer announced a new €300m investment to upgrade plants at Grange Castle, Newbridge and Ringaskiddy, bringing Irish staff to over 4,000.
It has been a rough ride for retail workers, with Covid-19 causing a shopping shutdown followed by a post-pandemic rush.
Next is as exposed to the vagaries of the high street as any retailer, with 500 stores, including 17 in Ireland.
Recent quarterly results showed sales rise 21.3pc. It saw a big rise in online sales during the pandemic, but they have fallen back 11pc in recent months.
Some have predicted that as inflation drives the cost of living up, retail is the next sector likely to suffer from severe staff shortages as it struggles to boost wages enough to satisfy workers.
16 Laya Healthcare
Financial services firms do not feature highly at the top of this list, but Laya Healthcare breaks the mould.
It arrived in Cork in 1997 as BUPA Ireland to take on VHI’s monopoly. It employs 450 people, but has gone through various ups and downs.
It fell foul of controversial risk-equalisation measures and was acquired by the Quinn Group. After Quinn collapsed under the weight of its own troubles, the health insurer was bought out by management, backed by Swiss Re, and rebranded Laya Healthcare.
It was bought by AIG and is Ireland’s second-largest health insurer, with half a million members.
Dublin-based CJK is an Irish-owned mechanical and electrical services contractor, established in 1998.
Based in Dublin, it has steadily expanded its operations over the past 24 years and currently employs 320 people.
With a projected turnover of €52m for 2022, CJK strives for lasting relationships and a commitment to excellence in the data centre, industrial, pharmaceutical, public and commercial sectors.
Its clients include Accenture, Dublin City University, ESB, Facebook, Irish Distillers and the HSE.
18 Temple Street Hospital
In November 1872, Temple Street Children’s University Hospital started life as a charitable infirmary at 9 Upper Temple Street, where it opened with just 21 beds.
Now it cares for almost 150,000 children a year.
Employing over 3,600 people at four locations, its stated values are to be child-centric, compassionate and progressive, with respect and integrity at its heart.
In 2019, ahead of the still long-awaited opening of the new Children’s Hospital, Temple Street was merged into a new legal structure with Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and National Children’s Hospital Tallaght to form Children’s Health Ireland (CHI).
19 Dell Technologies
Since first establishing a presence in Ireland in 1991, Dell Technologies has developed a strategic presence here, employing 5,000 people.
The company’s three campuses in Cork, Dublin and Limerick have become one global hub for sales, services, manufacturing, supply-chain operations, engineering, IT and finance.
Operations in Ireland include its 5G Edge Labs in Cork and the Customer Solutions Centre and Innovation Lab in Limerick.
The president of international markets for Dell Technologies globally is Aongus Hegarty — a Limerick man.
Cloud computing company VMware opened its Cork office in 2005 and now employs more than 900 people in Ireland.
The campus in Ballincollig, six kilometres west of Cork city, employs native speakers of more than 20 different languages, with the company describing it as “a truly a multi-cultural community”.
Its functions in Ireland include global support services, finance procurement and human resources.
VMware says it “is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment”.
The company was set up in 1998 and employs more than 34,000 people globally.
21 TK Maxx
Irish shoppers have flocked to TK Maxx for its promise of designer labels, top brands, homeware and gifts at up to 60pc less than the recommended price.
Operating in Ireland since 1997, there are 26 TK Maxx stores across Ireland and two Homesense stores, one in Blanchardstown, Dublin, and the other in Cork city.
Part of TJX Europe, the retailer has more than 500 stores across the UK, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
According to the company, diversity and inclusion are key tenets of the business.
22 Joe Duffy Group
The Joe Duffy Group was formed in 1972 when Joe Duffy (not the RTÉ broadcaster) acquired the first ever BMW dealership in Ireland.
Founded by Mr Duffy and Bill Thompson, when Joe Duffy Motors first opened its doors it had just four members of staff.
That same year 180 BMW cars were sold in the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland — with 90 of them sold by Joe Duffy Motors.
In 2005, Gavin Hydes became CEO and since then the Joe Duffy Group has grown the group from one to 21 dealerships.
The company now has a team of 510 employees and also represents Audi, Mazda, Volkswagen, Ford, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche and Kia.
Woodie’s is an Irish-owned DIY store and a subsidiary of Grafton Group plc.
Now employing around 1,500 people, Woodie’s was classified as an essential retailer during lockdown and performed strongly as people focused on upgrading their homes and revamping their gardens.
Its first shop opened in June 1987 at Walkinstown, Dublin, and its first superstore later opened in Cork, with the product range being significantly extended.
It merged with Atlantic Homecare in 2005, with all Atlantic Homecare stores eventually being rebranded Woodie’s.
Woodie’s now has 35 branches nationwide, selling everything from paint to fitted kitchens.
24 An Post
An Post became a vital public service during the pandemic, delivering goods during the country’s various lockdowns and even providing the most vulnerable with vital regular contact.
It has also faced some challenges, with technological developments having an impact on rural customers and its traditional mail business.
However, CEO David McRedmond continues to modernise the company, which now publishes gender pay and sustainability reports — a source of pride among workers.
An Post employs more than 9,000 people across its business, in divisions ranging from postal to retail and financial services.
IBM first set up operations in the Republic of Ireland in 1956, and now employs more than 3,200 people here.
The tech giant announced in February that it would add 200 jobs Dublin, Cork and Galway. It kept hiring during the pandemic, taking on 400 people over the past two years.
The focal point for investments in Ireland has been the IBM Technology Campus, established in 1996 on a 100-acre site in Mulhuddart, Dublin. Founded in 1911, the wider group employs 270,000 people globally and recorded revenues of €57.35bn in last year.