Life Sciences Opportunities in 2019 in Ireland

Ireland in the 21st century has become a global leader within the technology sectors attracting massive amounts of foreign investment, far outstripping growth in these areas of many of their EU neighbours. Among these sectors the pharmaceutical and life science industries continue to grow at an astounding pace.

Relative to its size Ireland is a global leader in the fields of medicinal and pharmaceutical products and is currently the 7th largest exporter of pharmaceutical products globally. There are over 120 international life sciences companies based in Ireland, with 9 of the 10 largest global pharmaceutical companies having large manufacturing or R & D facilities there. The levels of investment in these sectors continues to increase on an annual basis and this is reflected by both the importance of the life science industries to the Irish economy and the growth of the number of highly skilled people employed.

In the late 1970s there were 2000 people employed in the pharmaceutical sector throughout the country. However by 2018 there were nearly 27,000 people working in this field. The biotechnology industry is also growing rapidly with over 11,000 people employed in 2018, up from 6,500 in 2015.

Pharmaceutical sector infographic


This extraordinary growth has been facilitated by government policy encouraging high value STEM industries. Some of the factors leading to the ongoing growth in life sciences include:

  • Highly attractive corporation tax regime
  • STEM hubs in certain locations
  • Higher education geared towards STEM sectors
  • Plenty of rural locations for capital investment
  • Good infrastructure
  • Open borders welcoming highly skilled employees from the EU
  • Supportive government policy

As such there will be continual strong growth in the life science sector in Ireland with plenty of investment opportunities occurring over the next 5 years, meaning that Ireland will be a very attractive place to work. Due to the population of Ireland being relatively small, there is a limited talent pool of scientific and engineering staff available and as such there is a need to source highly skilled professionals from abroad for both permanent and contract positions.

The opportunities for development and growth for employees in the life sciences sectors will be greater in Ireland than most other EU countries due to this rapid investment and growth and as such now is good time to consider a move to Ireland.

If you would like to find out more about the Irish life sciences market contact Liam O Connell at

Take a look at our latest jobs in Ireland here


Author: Liam O’Connell

Liam O'Connell

Posted in: Industry News, News
Graphic showing stats on recruitment on the pharma sector in Ireland.