PwC, a professional services firm, has announced the creation of 771 jobs as part of a £40 million investment in a new advanced research and engineering center.
The investment, announced by new Economy Minister Paul Frew, will be phased in over the next five years, creating 771 jobs.
Invest Northern Ireland, the economic development agency, is contributing more than £9.8 million to the investment.
The new facility is located in Belfast and is part of PwC’s fastest-growing division, Operate.
Mr Frew stated, “PwC’s significant investment is a vote of confidence in our local workforce’s talent and the success it has already achieved here.”
“With almost £10m of support from Invest NI towards the new centre, this investment will lead to the creation of almost 800 new jobs which will generate approximately £25m in additional annual salaries for our economy.
“The new advanced research and engineering centre will drive future innovations in technology. It will enhance our reputation as a world leader in technology innovation and our capabilities in important research areas such as robotic process automation (RPA), workflow automation, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).”
He stated that areas such as RPA and AI were all highlighted in the 10X Economy, a strategy for economic growth first introduced by his predecessor, Diane Dodds, last month.
The center will be located at PwC’s new headquarters in Belfast’s Merchant Square, which was recently sold to a Saudi Arabian investment fund for £87 million, making it Northern Ireland’s largest ever office sale. The structure is scheduled to open later this summer.
It will create technology and data assets to assist clients, and recruitment for software engineering and other technology roles will begin immediately.
According to Ian McConnell, partner lead for PwC Operate, the center will be central to PwC’s future technology strategy.
“Our goal is to transform incredible ideas into technology that will solve complex business problems for the next decade and beyond.
“We’re creating a team of engineers and technologists who’ll work within a bigger innovation ecosystem, including government, academia and business, to help our clients take giant leaps, rather than incremental steps.
“It’s a huge statement of confidence from PwC UK’s Executive Board in both the Operate business and our local talent.
“The strength of our people has already enabled us to turn Operate into PwC’s fastest-growing division and I’m very proud that this gives us the opportunity to create hundreds more highly skilled jobs in Northern Ireland.”
The funding from wInvest NI will go towards 37 research and development projects in key technology areas such as RPA, workflow automation, AI, and data analytics.
It will also help to create 108 software and engineering jobs.
“We’ve been working with PwC since 2011 and, with our support, the local management have successfully positioned NI as a key hub for PwC UK, helping to grow its presence in Northern Ireland from 650 employees to over 2,500,” said Invest NI chief executive Kevin Holland.
“I am delighted that we have been able to secure the company’s further growth ambitions in Northern Ireland, with the research and engineering centre as the latest outcome of our working relationship.”