Up to 400 skilled jobs are to be created in Belfast with the arrival of first time investor PA Consulting.
The firm, a global innovation and transformation consultancy with more than 2,600 specialists worldwide, is to establish a digital centre to work with private and public sector clients across the world, bringing around £14.5 million in salaries over the next five years.
The announcement is the largest of its kind this year and the biggest single job creation project in Belfast.
It was hailed as a significant achievement by Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton who said it underlined Northern Ireland’s place as a international centre for digital services.
Anita Chandraker, global head of innovation services and a member of the PA Consulting Board, said Belfast proved to be the standout location for the firm’s expansion plans.
“We thought long and hard about where was the best place for our next phase of expansion, and considered factors such as the talent pool, the current technology sector, salaries, education and universities, and infrastructure,” she said.
“Northern Ireland ticked all the boxes. These factors, combined with the offer of support from government, made it the logical choice.”
Welcoming the announcement, Secretary of State Karen Bradley said it showed that Northern Ireland continued to punch “well above its weight in terms of proving itself as a top destination to invest and do business”.
“This is a real boost for the city but also a real indication of everything that the city has to offer.
“That these high quality, unique jobs will be in Belfast is something that we should all be incredibly proud of.”
Outlining the new centre’s role, Ms Chandraker said: “To meet the needs of our clients, we are continually growing our team of digital specialists. Our digital team helps our clients to use digital technologies to adapt and transform their operations in an era of disruptive change.
“The initial focus for PA will be on digital engineering. With roles from graduate-level developers to senior engineering roles available there are opportunities for those interested in digital technology to work on projects involving dev ops, software development, data analytics, security, and automated intelligence.”
The firm has been offered almost £4 million to secure the investment, described by Mr Hamilton as a significant acheivement.
“To secure a global digital engineering centre for PA Consulting, in Belfast, 400 jobs being created here, all above the private sector average, all right in the sweet space for us of digital engineering, software development, dev ops and the potential for cyber security and AI in the future, is absolutely tremendous news for us,” he said.
“Clearly, in this digital engineering space, what has been developing over the past number of years is now at a level that can compete globally with digital engineering capability around the world.
“People will take notice that PA has come here and that this is their first digital engineering centre outside their Cambridge HQ and that they looked far and wide before they decided this was where they were going to locate it.”