Professional services firm Deloitte has unveiled ambitious growth plans for its operation in Northern Ireland. In the coming four years the Big 4 giant aims at growing its workforce in Belfast to a team of 1,000 employees. If all goes according to plan, then by 2020 Belfast will be Deloitte’s largest office outside London.
In September 2014, Deloitte said it would create 338 jobs over the following five years as part of the second phase of its growth plans at its Belfast Delivery Centre, in an investment of £30 million that was backed by a financial package of £2.6 million from Invest NI. The new roles in technology, pensions, actuarial consulting and finance aimed to increase its local workforce to 700 by 2019.
However, Deloitte is already ahead of schedule to deliver on those commitments, said Deloitte’s UK chief executive David Sproul and chairman Nick Owen yesterday during a meeting with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in Belfast. The firm now has a total of 460 employees in Northern Ireland, with another 43 young people set to join Deloitte in September.
The firm anticipates that many of the additional jobs it will create in the next four years will build on the strong expertise already established in its Technology Studio, in areas such as data science and analytics, cyber security and digital engineering. Deloitte will also continue to grow its human capital, actuarial, tax and audit practices. The upwards revised plans are, according to Deloitte UK chairman Owen, “testament to the success that the team here has enjoyed since announcing significant expansion plans and the breadth of expertise within the business.”
Belfast has in recent years increasingly positioned itself, on the back of its good conditions to do business, as a magnet for professional services firms. In 2014 PwC invested £40 million in its operation in the city, creating 800+ new jobs, while Grant Thornton followed suit last year with plans to add 70 employees to its local hub. Smaller firms too have been eyeing expansion in the region, including the likes of Rushport Advisory and environmental consultancy SLR Consulting.
Welcoming Deloitte’s decision to raise its footprint in the region, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, says: “I welcome this announcement by Deloitte, one of the biggest professional services firms in the world. Deloitte’s decision to increase its workforce to 1,000 by 2020 is a strong endorsement of Northern Ireland’s dynamic economy. Deloitte is making this commitment based on the talent and quality of staff in Belfast and it is a clear indicator of the confidence that the firm has in Northern Ireland as a business friendly economy that will continue to grow and attract investment.”
As part of its growth plans, Deloitte is also in the process of securing new Grade A office accommodation.