PA Consulting Group opens digital centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland

20 September 2018 3 min. read

Global management and technology consulting firm PA Consulting has announced the opening of a new digital centre in Belfast. The expansion is planned to create around 400 new jobs in Northern Ireland’s capital city over the coming five years.

Work on the firm’s newest digital development centre has already commenced, with the complete development plan estimated to take five years. For Belfast, the arrival of PA Consulting Group – an international consulting firm with 2,600 professionals – will provide a welcome impulse to the economy. Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer of Invest NI, an institution that is committed to attracting foreign businesses to Northern Ireland’s capital, said: “PA has a long track record and world-class expertise in digital innovation and transformation. With offices worldwide and a Global Innovation and Technology Centre in Cambridge, the team in Belfast joins an experienced cadre of scientists, engineers, developers and technologists.” 

PA will fund the majority of the new centre privately, but it has however received support of almost £4 million in government grants. On top of this, Hamilton confirmed that the Department of Economy will look to provide pre-employment training for 155 of the circa 400 new roles. The consultancy has meanwhile launched its recruitment drive to hire specialists, with a focus on bringing in both graduates and young professionals as well as senior experts with a recognised track record. 

PA Consulting Group opens digital centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland

The initial focus for PA Consulting’s digital centre will be on topics such as digital engineering, DevOps, software development, data analytics, security and automated intelligence. PA has to date recruited about 40 people, including 25 digital specialists, with more than 50 targeted to join in the coming months. 

Anita Chandraker, Head of Innovation at PA, said Belfast had been chosen for the expansion because of its talent pool, universities and technology sector. She explained; “We thought long and hard about where was the best place for our next phase of expansion… Northern Ireland ticked all the boxes. These factors, combined with the offer of support from the government, made it the logical choice.” 

With the investment into Northern-Ireland, PA follows in the footsteps of a growing number of technology firms and consulting firms. Both Accenture and Deloitte for instance have large digital teams in the city, with the latter recently unveiling plans to grow its Belfast headcount to 1,000 by 2020. The Big Four accounting and advisory firm has similar to PA Consulting received state-funded support – Invest NI contributed around £2.6 million to Deloitte’s overall investment. 

PA’s move is set to generate £14.5 million in wages annually, boosting the Northern Irish economy with employment, direct tax revenues and indirect expenditures. 

Earlier this month, EY extended the footprint of its digital innovation centres, known as EY wavespace, with a new hub in Amsterdam, while Cognizant opened a delivery centre in Latvia aimed at supporting its clients in the Baltics and Nordics.