Page 1

Invest SLIGO Develop Locally  •  Market Globally

Sligo is designated a ‘Gateway’ city and as such will continue to be a prioritised location for infrastructure and related investment.

Invest SLIGO

Contents Executive Summary..................................................................04 Introduction.................................................................................05 Infrastructure & Access............................................................06 Track Record & the 1st Mover Advantage..........................08 Your Partners in Sligo...............................................................09 Property Solutions.....................................................................12 Skills and Training Supports...................................................14 Tax & Incentives..........................................................................15 Labour Costs................................................................................16 Salary Comparison....................................................................16 Cost of Living...............................................................................17 Start-up Timeline & Costs.......................................................17 Education......................................................................................18 Quality of Life..............................................................................20 Shared Services Checklist.......................................................21 The Invest Sligo Team...............................................................22 Conclusion....................................................................................23

Invest SLIGO Executive Summary Sligo is an ideal location to establish a customer service / contact centre. It has a superb turnkey office solution located in the IDA Business Park, an abundance of skilled labour, an excellent business support network, great training and salary supports and highly competitive salary and property costs. Sligo, with its track record in the Life Sciences, offers a first-mover advantage to a call centre with a significant and untapped talent pool to draw on. Sligo is the low cost, high quality destination of choice for any customer service centre moving to Ireland. →

Cost Competitive – labour and property costs are significantly lower than other urban centres. Customer service salaries are 21% lower than Dublin, 13% lower than Cork and 10% lower than Galway.

Quality of Life – low cost of living compared with other urban centres (rents in Dublin, Cork and Galway are 106%, 44% and 41% more expensive than Sligo respectively), a vibrant arts scene, stunning scenery and a host of leisure activities.

→ Single Point of Access – single coordinated entry point, through the Invest Sligo Team, to all sources of support from training programmes to finance. →

Business Support Network – dedicated and engaged business support network with a collaborative end-to-end partnership approach. A unique business support ecosystem that provides assistance and expertise to ensure your company succeeds.

→ Property – Ideal turnkey office solution available immediately. → Training – Bespoke training and skills development support programmes. → Financial incentives – Range of grant and wage subsidy supports.


Abundant supply of talent – IT Sligo business graduate output of 200 students per year, IT Sligo total output is 1,200; high regional unemployment and the downsizing of the AvantCard call centre releasing large numbers of experienced professionals into the local job market.

1st mover advantage – largely untapped supply of talent, including experienced contact centre personnel, customisable SOLAS contact centre training courses, choice of prime office facilities and support from an experienced team of partners.

→ 90 Days – your company can have people on the ground, in your new building, taking calls, within 90 days of your decision to set up in Sligo. →

Track Record – multinationals active in the region: Abbott, Elanco, GSK, MBNA, SITA, United Health and Overstock. Previously active: Tiscali / Talk Talk successfully operated 200 person call centre.

→ Population – 250,000 people within a 60km radius. → Access – Excellent transport and communications infrastructure.

Invest SLIGO Introduction Sligo is the principal city in the North West of Ireland. It has a population of just under 20,000 which rises to 250,000 within a 60km radius. Sligo boasts excellent infrastructure and is easily accessible by air, road and rail. It is 45 minutes from a major international airport and has major inter urban routes linking it to other urban hubs such as Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Derry. Sligo is a ‘Gateway’ city and will continue to be a prioritised location for infrastructural investment. The local business support network can provide assistance at every stage of development for a contact centre. Local and national agencies, including the Local Enterprise Office and IDA Ireland, work together to provide a collaborative support system. From sourcing a suitable property and skilled labour to developing a training programme, this support network will provide access to the best advice and expertise available, ensuring that businesses receive the best opportunity to be successful. This unique support network provides a distinct advantage to companies expanding their organisations in Ireland. This support network can be accessed via a single point of contact through the Invest Sligo Team that simplifies your interactions with all of the necessary organisations. Sligo can offer a number of ideal property solutions at very competitive prices. Office facilities are located in the IDA Business & Technology Park and include readyto-go turnkey facilities. Sligo is a thriving and ambitious town. More school leavers from Sligo go on to higher education than anywhere else in the country. IT Sligo produces dynamic, industry-ready graduates with almost 200 students graduating from the Business School annually. IT Sligo is an award winning college, renowned for the quality of its graduates. In 2011 IT Sligo students won the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the most prestigious student technology competition in the world. A customer service centre in Sligo can avail of excellent training and salary supports. Custom designed training programmes can be developed and run in partnership with IT Sligo or SOLAS (Further Education and Training Authority), supplying a customer service centre with the high-quality staff it needs.

Sligo has an unemployment rate of 15.5% with 55.5% of those being long-term unemployed. This gives an employer a large pool of labour to draw on, the majority of whom qualify for financial support. An employer can save as much as €10,000 in wages per employee over the first two years, if they hire a longterm unemployed person. Sligo offers significant cost savings in comparison to other cities. Customer service salaries are 21% higher in Dublin than Sligo. Sligo also compares well with Cork and Galway which are 13% and 10% higher than Sligo respectively. Due to downsizing in existing companies, there is a ready supply of labour. This skilled and experienced labour force is also an untapped resource for the North West and is within easy commuting distance of Sligo. The downsizing of Avantcard, the availability of experienced labour and graduate output from IT Sligo will give a contact centre setting up in Sligo a considerable first-mover advantage. Sligo also has a successful track record in the customer service sector. Previous enterprises included Tiscali / Talk Talk, which operated a 200 person contact centre for 6 years in the IDA Ireland Business Park in Sligo. Sligo’s successful track record, its unique labour conditions, an ideal property solution and highly competitive cost base is the ideal first mover opportunity for a customer service centre. Sligo offers a phenomenal quality of life to people of all ages and interests. Sligo boasts world class scenery, recreation (sailing, surfing, and golfing), culture (arts, music, literature) and an open and vibrant community. Residential property costs in the North West are significantly lower than the national average. These factors make the region attractive for skilled graduates and inward investors. This is proven by the ease with which companies are able to recruit, train and retain staff in the Sligo region, as they are keen to live and work in the Sligo area. The combination of the talent and ambition of Sligo’s workforce with its low business and living costs, all operating within a business environment that supports and encourages entrepreneurship and growth, make Sligo a compelling proposition for a customer service centre looking to expand its business.


Invest SLIGO

Sligo is served by the N4 to Dublin. The N16 to Enniskillen/Belfast and the N17 to Galway.


Invest SLIGO Infrastructure & Access Communications Sligo is served by the metropolitan area network, a broadband fibre network telecommunications system which allows open access to all telecommunications providers and ensures an ultra-fast, high quality service for all users.

Sligo is the main commercial and administrative Gateway of the North West region of Ireland. It is the largest centre of population in the region with an urban population of c. 20,000, rising to over 250,000 within a 60 km radius. Sligo is served by the N4 to Dublin – 210 km (2 hours, 15 minutes by car), N16 Enniskillen/Belfast – 200 km (2hrs, 30mins) and N17 to Galway – 137 km (1hr, 50mins). Regional Airports at Sligo, Derry and Knock, Ireland International West Airport (45mins), provide daily scheduled flights to Dublin and the UK.

The 100 acre Finisklin Business Park is fully equipped with the necessary telecommunications and utilities infrastructure to cater for the needs of multinational clients. Businesses located in Finisklin can avail of broadband speeds of up to 1GB, the fastest available speeds anywhere in the country.

Sligo has excellent public train and bus services. There are several daily train services to Dublin and bus services cater for all of the neighbouring population centres including Galway, Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Limerick, Castlebar and Westport.


Sligo is designated a ‘Gateway’ city and as such will continue to be a prioritised location for infrastructure and related investment.

Larne 2hrs


Belfast Aiport Belfast Port

2hrs 30mins

Map Opposite: Travel time from Sligo to other major cities and towns on the island of Ireland.


2hrs 15mins

International Airport

1hr 50mins



Dublin Aiport Dublin Port

2hrs 50mins

Limerick 4hrs




Invest SLIGO Customer Service Track Record and the 1st Mover Advantage Ireland has a strong track record in operating customer service centres. Many companies with customer service centres in Ireland have incorporated them into larger shared services centres, utilising the broad skills base in the country. Today there are over 100 international business services centres in Ireland, employing over 35,000 people. These shared services centres cover the full spectrum of business service activity and are involved in a wide variety of industries. The food and beverage, technology, business consultancy, and finance sectors are a few of the industries represented in Ireland’s shared services sector. Companies such as Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Baxter, Citi, Google, Accenture and Whirlpool are some of the most well-known multinationals that are taking advantage of Ireland’s shared services talent. Examples of multinational customer service centre operations include: UPS: established in Ireland in 1995, based in Dublin, consists of a multi-lingual customer service contact centre and a back-office data-processing facility. The company employs 650 people in Dublin, 350 in the contact centre and 300 in the shared services centre. Apple: based in Cork, activities include technical support and customer care, provision of high-end technical support in IT hardware and software, telesales, online customer support, marketing and direct service for repairs. Supports 9 European languages. Ebay/PayPal: multilingual customer service, risk prevention, financial operations, merchant services and sales across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The Dundalk operations centre has hired 1,450 people since 2012. Ireland has the language and technical skills necessary to be the ideal location for an EMEA contact centre. Multinationals continue to invest in Ireland with several major customer service centre announcements in the last 12 months. Zenimax, the gaming company, announced in March that it will be establishing a 250 person customer service centre in Galway. Sky TV will be creating 800 jobs in its new customer service centre in Dublin, Novartis is adding 100 additional roles in its business services centre in Dublin and Salesforce is also adding 100 staff to its sales, marketing, IT and customer services centre in Dublin.


The absence of a large player in the contact space in Sligo is a further opportunity for a company to be the ‘first mover’. A customer contact centre of scale has been successfully delivered in the past and can be recreated with ease, speed and low risk. Tiscali / Talk Talk operated a 200 person contact centre for 6 years in the IDA Ireland Business Park in Sligo. The track record of successful multinational companies operating from and constantly reinvesting in Sligo is testament to the location and its people and is a strong indication of the potential for success for a customer service centre locating to the area. The AvantCard (formerly Bank of America) operation in Carrick-on-Shannon has been in transition for the past 2 years and has seen the headcount fall from over 1,000 to about 450 staff. This skilled and experienced labour force is also an untapped resource for the North West and within easy commuting distance of Sligo. Sligo presents a real opportunity for a contact centre as the talent and graduate pool are largely untapped or needs to go elsewhere for employment. This is because Sligo is dominated by Life Science manufacturing projects and has only very limited or small services projects.

Invest SLIGO Your Partners in Sligo Sligo provides a collaborative, cross-institutional support network for companies in the region. Businesses locating to the region will be able to use the full range of supports provided by the local support network. The collaborative approach available in Sligo simplifies the interactions between a company and local and national government agencies, ensuring that they make the most of the programmes and expertise available to them. This approach guarantees that every organisation and state body is working in unison to give your business the best opportunity to be successful. IDA Ireland

IDA Ireland is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland. A range of services and incentives, including funding and grants, are available to those considering foreign direct investment in Ireland. The IDA attracts overseas and inward investment by: → Compiling up-to-date statistics and facts for research and development in industry, the economy and foreign direct investment in Ireland. → Building links between international businesses and third level education, academic and research centres to ensure the necessary skills and R&D capabilities are in place. → Pursuing Ireland’s policy of becoming a knowledge- based economy by actively building world-leading clusters of knowledge-based activities. → Strongly influencing the competitive needs of Ireland's economy by actively engaging in the development of infrastructure and business support services, telecoms, education, regulatory issues especially in relation to EU policy. IDA also offer the following assistance: → Information on key business sectors and locations within Ireland. → Advice on setting up a business in Ireland. → Introductions to potential investors, local industry, government, service providers and research institutes. → Advice on property solutions.

The type of grants available include: → Employment Grants. → Research and Development Grants. → Training Grants. → Capital Grants Sligo is a key urban area in the Border Midlands West Region. Companies locating in this region are eligible to receive the highest level of financial incentives of anywhere in Ireland.

Sligo County Council

Infrastructure development: One of the core activities of Sligo County Council is the direct provision of infrastructure in the county in the area of roads, water and waste water services. In conjunction with the National Roads Authority and the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government, Sligo County Council has invested significantly in the provision of and upgrading of the national, primary, secondary, regional & local road networks in the county. Sligo County Council has provided for the operation of Water & Waste Water in Sligo. (Since the beginning of 2014, the operation of water services is operated by way of Service Level Agreement with Irish Water the new utility company established on 1st January 2014). Significant investment by Sligo County Council over the past 10-15 years has meant that Sligo has one of the most efficient water supplies in the country. Creative Industries, Tourism, Recreational & Cultural Development Sligo County Council works to develop Sligo Tourism potential by building on its many natural attributes »


Invest SLIGO Your Partners in Sligo in the areas of cultural, archaeological, scenic, and maritime legacies in an environmentally sustainable way. County Sligo’s exceptionally rich archaeological heritage with the highest density of artefacts in the National Museum of Ireland and its internationally renowned artists in the literary, arts and music worlds are factors contributing to the distinct cultural experience that Sligo offers. Sligo also hosts the second highest number of businesses employed in the creative industries in the country with some 4.2% of the workforce being employed in this sector as compared to the national and EU average of 3.6%. Sligo County Council over the past number of years has expanded its role in the area of Tourism & Sports Recreation. Under its current Tourism Recreation Strategy it is planning for a variety of walks and outdoor recreational amenities to provide for and promote outdoor activity in the county thus adding value to its distinct and unique landscape. In late 2013, Sligo was awarded the European Town of Sport Award within the EU, testimony to the variety and quality of the facilities and breadth of clubs and activities that are on it doorstep. Local Enterprise Office The primary objective of the Local Enterprise Office is to focus, develop and support local entrepreneurship and enterprise. The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Sligo provides a first stop shop for those wishing to start or expand their business in Sligo. The LEO provides a range of direct financial supports, advice, mentoring and training opportunities to small and medium sized businesses in a variety of sectors who create or have potential to create up to ten jobs. Direct grant aid includes capital grants, refundable aid, employment grants, feasibility study grant aid as well as direct referral to Enterprise Ireland, Micro Finance Ireland and other loan guarantee schemes. A range of Training programmes are also provided by the Local Enterprise Office on an ongoing basis. Topics covered include enterprise skills, basic bookkeeping, financial management, human resource management, marketing, health and safety, quality,


IT, exporting etc. The range of supports are designed to assist businesses to grow to their potential and be more sustainable by being able to provide targeted and appropriate assistance at each stage of their development. The Local Enterprise Office works with other statutory and local development agencies to focus attention on the economic potential that Sligo has to offer. Sligo Chamber of Commerce Sligo Chamber is the largest business membership organization in the North West of Ireland representing over 300 businesses and organizations in Sligo city and county. Sligo Chamber is accredited to Chambers Ireland, Ireland’s largest business network with 60 member chambers representing 13,000 businesses on the island of Ireland. What Sligo Chamber can do for you: → Increase your company’s brand profile – through the largest networking organization in the North West → Generate leads and sales – through a variety of networking opportunities → Be represented by them as they advocate for enhanced infrastructural support → Market and promote your business – through their website, online media, newsletters and sponsorship opportunities → Extend your contacts base – through formal and informal networking → Acquire new ideas – at a variety of business- specific seminars, workshops and events → Avail of expert advice and information – International Trade Services, Enterprise Europe Network, etc. Enterprise Ireland Enterprise Ireland's priority is the achievement of export sales growth from Irish-owned companies. Enterprise Ireland works with entrepreneurs and business people across the full business development spectrum - from early-stage entrepreneurs, to established business owners and Irish multinational companies.

Invest SLIGO

Services The range of services is extensive, from funding, to making introductions in key international markets. → Funding supports - a range of supports for start- ups, expansion plans, and R&D business plans. → Export assistance - including the provision of in-market services, local market information and the facilities of their international office network. → Supports to develop competitiveness - helping companies to become leaner to make them more competitive in international markets. → Incentives to stimulate in-company R&D – new product, service and process development to ensure sustainability, and growth through the evolution of products and services. → Assistance with R&D collaboration - with research institutions, to develop and bring to market new technologies, products or processes. → Connections and introductions to customers overseas - provide access to a global network of contacts from heads of government to end customers. IT Sligo IT Sligo is the leading third level college in the North West of Ireland with 6,000 students. Approximately 1,800 students graduate from IT Sligo each year. The college has a fantastic pro-business approach and is heavily engaged with local and international companies. The college can design a course specifically to meet the needs of a company. It is a pioneer in the area of online learning with almost 1,300 online students pursuing degree and certificate programmes. IT Sligo was the winner of the Taoiseach’s public service excellence award in 2012 for its delivery of online learning as well as a Digital Media Award in 2011 for their innovations in e-learning. IT Sligo has three Strategic Research Centres as well as five interdisciplinary Centres of Excellence, including the Centre for Design Innovation which is supported by Enterprise Ireland. These research centres are engaged in high level collaborative research projects with other academic institutes and multinational and indigenous companies. IT Sligo continually excel at national and international level. In 2011 students of IT Sligo won the international Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition in Software Design. The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition.

IT Sligo Innovation Centre The technology transfer and innovation unit offers practical advice including information on sources of funding, training opportunities, consultancy, online learning, leading edge communication and high-spec business facilities. The Innovation Centre currently houses over 20 new businesses employing over 50 people. Business sectors include software development, chemical and environmental analysis, biotechnology, health food development and e-learning and web design. In addition to engagement with SMEs, IT Sligo’s current portfolio of partners includes Coca Cola, Abbott International and Masonite. The Innovation Centre provides the gateway for business and industry to access a broad range of practical services including: enterprise training, an incubation space, applied research, mentoring and networking opportunities, access to IT Sligo research expertise, use of specialist equipment, and video conferencing and meeting facilities. Strengths and specialist expertise include: → Sustainability and green technologies → Creativity and Design → Healthcare → Economic and Social Research → Design and Rapid Prototyping Western Development Commission Set up to promote both social and economic development in the Western Region of Ireland, the WDC is a statutory body with a specific focus on counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare. It does this in a number of ways, operating at both national policy and local level. Small, flexible and regionally focused, the Western Development Commission collaborates with all sectors, public, private and voluntary. The organisation’s strong ethos of sharing intellectual and other resources means it is well placed to help achieve common good within the West. The WDC works in four key areas 1 Research and Analysis 2 Rural Economy 3 WDC Investment Fund 4 Regional Promotion –


Invest SLIGO

Sligo has office accommodation for 572 staff locatated in two buildings in Finisklin Business Park.


Invest SLIGO

Property Solutions Turnkey Office Solution This 1,445 m2 / 15,000 ft2 office is located in Finisklin Business Park in Sligo. Set on a fully landscaped 0.64 hectare (1.60 acre) site in the Park the office building is designed to provide maximum flexibility with a central core and two side wings over two floors. The facility has installed telecoms connectivity of 1 GB with a direct link to the nearest exchange 800m from the site. It also has an uninterruptable power supply. The property is available on a phased basis at an extremely competitive cost.

Advanced Office Solution This 23,056 ft2 / 2,142m2 office building is located on Finisklin Business Park in Sligo. Set on a fully landscaped 0.64 hectare (1.60 acre) site in the Park the office building is designed to provide maximum flexibility over three spacious floor spaces.

The facility previously housed a Tiscali / Talk Talk contact centre. It is furnished for 272 staff with workstations, etc. The property is fully turnkey and ready to occupy at a guide rental of €8.00 per sq. ft. The current configuration / floor plan for 272 staff is shown below.

There is also ample expansion space around this building to allow for future growth. IDA Ireland has some sample floor plans and costings showing optional layouts / configurations for the property. The property, which requires only final fit out and furnishing, can accommodate over 300 staff, the rental price is €5.50 per sq. ft. / €59.20 per sq. m.


Invest SLIGO Skills and Training Supports

Skills and Training Supports JobBridge JobBridge provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals at all skill levels and all levels of educational attainment. They receive an additional â‚Ź50 payment each week from the Department of Social Protection. By taking part in the JobBridge scheme, your organisation will access newly trained interns with recent skills sets or skilled workers that add real value to your organisation, without incurring any additional salary costs. JobsPlus JobsPlus is an employer incentive, which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities to the long-term unemployed. The incentive provides two levels of payment: a payment of â‚Ź7,500 over two years to an employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months and â‚Ź10,000 over two years to an employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months. The Incentive is payable monthly in arrears. Springboard The Springboard initiative in Higher Education offers free, part-time courses at Certificate, Degree and Masters Level. All courses lead to qualifications in enterprise sectors which are growing and need skilled personnel, including information and communications technology (ICT); manufacturing; international

financial services; and key skills for enterprise to trade internationally. Qualifications are also available in cross-enterprise skills such as innovation, enterprise/ entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and project management. All courses are part-time, enabling individuals to keep social protection supports. Springboard has provided more than 1,600 places with 60% of courses incorporating a work placement element. Momentum Momentum, which is co-financed by the European Social Fund, is providing a range of free education and training interventions for up to 6,500 individuals who are unemployed for 12 months or more. The training, which is aligned up to NFQ* levels 5 and 6, is being provided within the context of four themes. ICT and telecommunications, transport logistics and sales and marketing, and manufacturing and social services are the three main themes with a fourth focusing on assisting under 25s. ICT Conversion Programmes There have been 769 places made available under the second phase of the ICT graduate skills conversion programme in 2013. The programmes, which are free of charge to participants, are all highly intensive and lead to an honours degree level award (NFQ level 8) in computer science and include a work placement of 3 to 6 months with an industry partner. *National Framework Qualification: 10 level qualification ranking system. Level 10 is a PhD.


Invest SLIGO

Skillnets Jobseeker Programmes Skillnets provides companies with new opportunities to develop relevant, effective answers to their training and development needs. The programme targeted the training of 40,000 people in 2013, of whom 8,000 were long term unemployed. Skillnets has the following benefits for a company: → Cost efficient – subsidised by Skillnets, and their training networks have better buying power → Relevant - you can request the training your company/staff needs → Convenient - delivered at a time and a location that suits member companies → Of a high quality – training networks source the best and most relevant training providers Being a member company of a Skillnets training network will also have its own benefits: → Save your time and resources – a training network organises training courses on your behalf → Create new business contacts/opportunities → Network with companies in your sector/region to share knowledge, ideas and best practice SOLAS Traineeships combine directed off-the-job training with workplace training in the host company. This dual system provides the programme participant with the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge learned in the training centre in the workplace. The duration of a traineeship programme is determined by the requirements of each set of skills to be acquired for the occupation for which the person is being trained. With the inclusion of the on-the-job training element, traineeship programmes range from 15 to 59 weeks. What are the Benefits to Employers of Participating in a Traineeship? → Traineeships are designed to meet the specific training and employment requirements of industry sectors and sub-sectors → Employers and SOLAS co-operate in all aspects of Traineeships, from course design to recruitment → The participant will be paid a training allowance by SOLAS → The Traineeship will help improve recruitment, retention and productivity. Participating companies will be seen as progressive employers in the sector. → Employers can develop the skills of existing employees as Skills Coaches

SOLAS facilitates the networking of employers by industry sector and/or location. This practice assists in identifying skills shortages and the information can be used to identify training needs and the development of appropriate curriculum to address these needs. The courses are either market led or client led. Market led courses are primarily developed and offered to meet identified employer demand. Client led courses are primarily developed and offered to meet what the specific client wants.

Tax rates and Incentives The key features of Ireland’s tax regime that make it one of the most attractive global investment locations include: → A 12.5% corporate tax rate for active business. → A 25% research & development (R&D) tax credit. → An intellectual property (IP) regime which provides a tax write-off for broadly defined IP acquisitions. → An attractive holding company regime, including participation exemption for gains on disposals of most shares. →

An effective zero tax rate for foreign dividends (12.5% tax rate on qualifying foreign dividends, with flexible onshore pooling of foreign tax credits).

An EU-approved stable tax regime, with access to extensive double taxation agreement network and EU directive.

→ Generous domestic law withholding tax exemptions. →

Attractive reliefs for staff assigned from abroad, key staff working in R&D and staff carrying out work in certain countries.


Invest SLIGO Labour Costs Employment Costs The unemployment rate in Sligo was 15.5% at the end of 2013, compared to a national average of 12.3% for the same period. The long term unemployment rate is 55.5% in Sligo. Sligo is therefore able to offer a large supply of skilled labour that is eligible for wage subsidies in the form of the JobsPlus scheme. Below is an example of the potential costs of hiring an employee that qualifies for the JobsPlus programme. The JobsPlus programme will either reduce the wage burden by €7,500 or €10,000 depending on the length of time the employee was out of work. Fig 1. Salary costs across the Customer Service Centre sector in Ireland. Year 1

Year 2






JobsPlus allowance *




Total Cost of Employment




Total Savings in first 2 years




* based on an individual being unemployed in excess of 24 months

Under this scenario the company will save 28% of the wages paid over the first 2 years of employment. Salary Comparison Since 2008 Irish labour costs have remained stable compared to an increase of 9% in the rest of the EU. Irish companies also have the third highest labour productivity rates in the region. Gains in productivity and falls in nominal labour costs have led to a huge improvement in unit labour costs which have improved by 22% vs the EU 27. Salaries in the North West compare favourably with the rest of the country. Salaries in this region were either the lowest for the regions surveyed or tied for the lowest. Salaries for Customer Service roles in Sligo are 21% lower than in Dublin. Sligo offers excellent value compared to Cork and Galway as well, with salaries 13% and 11% lower than in those cities respectively. This is supported by a plentiful supply of professionals seeking employment opportunities. Sligo and the North West region offers an abundance of skilled professionals and very competitive salaries. Customer Services Many customer service centres in Ireland are integrated with other shared services such as HR,


accounting, marketing, supply chain management and IT. Ireland’s well educated workforce has the skills to support such a large scale shared services industry. Sligo compares favourably in its salary costs across all of these categories. (See Fig 2.) Fig 2. Salary costs across the Customer Service Centre sector in Ireland. Job Title

Sligo €000

Dublin €000

Cork €000

Galway €000

Customer Service Agent (0-3yrs. exp.)





Customer Service Agent & Language (0-3yrs. exp.)





Customer Service Agent & Language (3+yrs. exp.)





Customer Service Agent (3+yrs. exp.)





Customer Service Team Leader





Customer Service Supervisor





Customer Service Manager





Call Centre Manager/Shared Service Manager





Operations Director (Shared Services Centre)





Source: Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group, ‘Salary Survey 2014’

Fig 3. The table below indicates the extent of the cost savings available within the accountancy field compared other major Irish cities. Job Title Finance Director

Sligo €000

Dublin €000

Cork €000

Galway €000

80 -100




Financial Controller





Financial Accountant





Assistant Financial Accountant





Cost/Management Accountant





Treasury Accountant





Internal Auditor





Newly Qualified Accountant





Trainee Accountant





Source: Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group, ‘Salary Survey 2014’

Invest SLIGO Cost of Living North West Ireland is a cost effective location in which to operate for both the employer and the employee, across all aspects of an operation right through to cost of living for staff. Insurance and rental costs are lower than other locations throughout Ireland. A recent exercise based on a single individual earning €25k per annum gross salary shows that the individual will be left with approximately €646 per month disposable income in the North West as compared to lower figures of €396 in Dublin and €595 in Limerick. These quality of life and competitive living factors mean that staff retention can be enhanced and attrition reduced to more manageable levels – a key consideration for any employer. The low cost of living in the North West is bolstered by the greatly improved cost competitiveness of the country internationally.

Fig 4. Avgerage property costs by region Sligo




Average residential property asking price (€000)





% increase in cost compared to Sligo




Average rental cost per month





% increase in cost compared to Sligo






Business costs are down significantly; prime office rents are down 52% and unit labour costs are down 12%. The drop in the cost of living is also significant for employees, with residential rents down 17% and house prices down 50%, on average, from their peak, according to figures for Q4 2013.

Start-Up Timeline and Costs – Turnkey option Day 1: Decision to establish business in Sligo

Telecoms connection set up

Hiring of key management personnel

Installation of computers

Day 25: Remaining staff hired, including all customer service

Selection of Turnkey building solution

Day 90: Fully operational

8 week SOLAS training course for all calloperators

Key Features and Costs of Start-up Phase The Turnkey building is already configured for a customer service centre of 272 personnel and will only require reopening the telecoms link and installing the computers, phones and chairs. There is no need to reconfigure or refurnish the building. The telecoms connection costs approx. €4,000 and can be set up within days. Salaries for customer service agents will be €18-20K and many will be suitable for a wage subsidy to lower the financial burden on a new company in the region. Training of entry level staff will be provided by SOLAS at limited cost to the company. Within 90 days of choosing Sligo you can have people installed in your building taking calls


Invest SLIGO

There are over 9000 graduates in the West and North West every year.


Invest SLIGO Education There are over 9,000 graduates in the West / North West every year. This includes IT Sligo (1,800), LYIT (1,200), GMIT (2,000), NUIG (4,000), and if you include North West Regional College, Derry (500) and University of Ulster (9,000) this can total 18,500. Specifically there are over 2,159 Business Studies graduates* each year (4,500 graduates if including all colleges). * IT Sligo (514), LYIT (414), GMIT (547), NUIG (684), UU (2,380) and NWRC (54)

IT Sligo IT Sligo is the leading third level college in the North West of Ireland with 6,000 students. The college has a fantastic pro-business approach and is heavily engaged with local and international companies. The college is a pioneer in the area of online learning with almost 1,300 online students pursuing degree and certificate programmes. IT Sligo was the winner of the Taoiseach’s ‘Public Service Excellence Award’ in 2012 for its delivery of online learning, as well as a Digital Media Award in 2011 for their innovations in e-learning. Fees vary for a two-year, 60-credit programme from between €4,000 for a level 6 certificate to €9,000 for a post grad. Tuition Fees on Undergraduate Courses are paid by the Department of Education on behalf of all students who qualify. The Student Contribution fee is €2,250 and is payable by all students who do not qualify for grants or scholarships. Other Universities & Colleges LYIT based at Letterkenny in Donegal is a thriving third level college of over 3,000 students and over 1,000 graduates annually. The school of computer science at LYIT is a Microsoft (.NET) house and produces over 100 graduates annually in courses including IT Tech support and a range of cloud and security related technologies. GMIT has over 2,000 graduates annually from its three campuses. NUI Galway is the leading third level college in the west of Ireland with over 15,000 students and over 4,000 graduates annually.

Business / Financial Services Graduates & Talent IT Sligo has over 500 students graduating from the Business & Humanities School each year. In the past 5 years over 900 students have qualified with Honours Degrees in Business Studies and 86 with a Degree in Financial Services. Numbers in the financial services course declined in recent years but would quickly rebound where opportunities are presented. The proportion going on to companies QFA exams is estimated at 30%. IT Sligo has also recently seen a rise in mature students coming to the business related courses from the banking sector, most likely as a result of banks restructuring. Secondary Education Families moving to Sligo can avail of excellent schools for both primary and secondary pupils. There are 67 primary schools and 15 secondary schools in the county. Sligo has the highest rate of admission to third level colleges in the country with 72% of school leavers going on to attend college compared with a national average of 56%. Sligo Grammar school, Summerhill College, the Ursuline, Mercy College and Sligo Tech provide secondary education in Sligo city. Each of these schools has an excellent reputation. The Grammar is the only fee paying school, and costs are €2,980 for day pupils and €8,750 for boarders, per year. The Grammar is one of the top 20 mixed schools nationally with 61.5% of their pupils attending university. In each of the last two years a pupil from the Grammar has achieved the top result in the country for a particular Leaving Cert subject. The Ursuline is the largest girls’ school in Sligo. In the last two years it has produced national debating and basketball champion teams. There are over 700 students in the College at present with a staff of approximately 55. Summerhill College has a national reputation for its sporting accomplishments, most recently they won the Senior Soccer All Ireland Championship in 2013 and 2014. In 2013 Summerhill opened a new state-of-theart school building which can accommodate up to 900 pupils. The historic Summerhill College, which was first established in 1880, is the largest school in the county with over 750 boys attending the school.


Invest Sligo

Quality of Life Arts & Culture Sligo, ‘the land of hearts desire,’ is synonymous with the Yeats family. W.B. Yeats immortalised many locations in Sligo through his poetry and he is buried in Drumcliffe graveyard in the shadow of ‘bare Benbulben’s head,’ a few miles outside the city.

Sports Facilities & Outdoor Activities There are numerous ways to get active in Sligo. From our world class waves to our outstanding golf courses Sligo has something to offer everyone, be they the most intense adrenaline junkies or someone who prefers more relaxed pursuits.

Many of these iconic locations are open to visitors including the island of Innishfree and Lissadell House. The model arts centre contains a permanent exhibition of Jack B. Yeats’ paintings and showcases the work of many other, more contemporary artists.

Sligo County boasts six 18-hole golf courses and there are three 1st class beaches renowned for surfing. There are also numerous gyms and swimming pools as well as a host of sports clubs particularly for soccer and Gaelic football. There are three full size astro-turf pitches in Sligo city alone and there is also a tennis club to the north of Sligo, a few minutes’ drive from the city centre.

Sligo has a long heritage, with the Carrowmore tombs dating back 5000 years, making them older than the pyramids. There are a number of other historic sites that are well worth experiencing, including the megalithic tombs of Carrokeel, Parkes Castle on the shores of Lough Gill, Queen Maeve’s Tomb that sits atop Knocknarea Mountain overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Sligo Abbey which dates back to 1252. There are also excellent theatre and live music venues, and Sligo hosts several festivals


Sligo city is surrounded by mountains on three sides providing many picturesque hikes that cater for all abilities. You can also go horse riding, try your hand at archery or spend a relaxing afternoon fishing along our stunning coastline.

Invest Sligo

Why Sligo is the Ideal Location for a Customer Service Centre Customer Service Checklist for Sligo

Strong base of international service companies in the region with Overstock, Abbott and GSK all choosing Sligo as their preferred location

Custom designed training courses provided by IT Sligo

The availability of ideal property solutions

A competitive low corporate tax rate of 12.5% and access to substantial regional support funds

A pro-business environment with a dedicated local support team committed to maximising your businesses potential.

Advanced telecoms infrastructure

High productivity and low operating costs compared with other urban centres

The availability of a well-educated and cosmopolitan workforce with multilingual skills


The Invest Sligo Team The Invest Sligo Team is dedicated to making your business a success and will work together to deliver the services and expertise you need

Single Point of Contact Paul Keyes Chief Executive, Sligo Chamber of Commerce tel +353 (0)71 91 61274 email

Meet the Rest of the Team


John Nugent Manager North West - Business & Relationship Development, IDA

Carole Brenan Senior Regional Development Executive, Enterprise Ireland

Ciarรกn Hayes County Manager, Sligo County Council

Niall McEvoy Head of Innovation Institute of Technology Sligo

Niall Murray General Manager, Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group

Robbie Henneberry Company Director & Partner, Henneberry Solutions

Invest Sligo

Conclusion: Sligo is the ideal location to establish a customer service / contact centre in Ireland. It has a superb turnkey office solution located in the IDA Business & Technology Park, an abundance of skilled labour, excellent training and salary supports, and has highly competitive salary and property costs. Sligo, with its track record in the Life Sciences, also offers a first-mover advantage to a call centre moving to the region with a significant and untapped talent pool. The business support team has the expertise to assist your company at every stage of its operation, in whatever manner it requires, and will be a continually available resource for your company to draw on. Sligo is the low cost, high quality destination of choice for any customer service centre moving to Ireland.



Supported by

Design OSD Digital Agency

Print Printfix

Invest SLIGO Develop Locally  •  Market Globally

Invest Sligo Brochure  

24 page brochure promoting Sligo as a place to invest.