Earlier this month, the online recruitment firm Indeed briefed staff at its Dublin operation that it was implementing a hiring freeze. It was a world removed from the swingeing cuts imposed by a host of other technology companies with sizable presences in Ireland, but it still showed the slowdown across the wider sector at present.

But just how is the company performing in Ireland? How much money flows through its Dublin offices? And how much are the 1,242 employees at its main Irish holding paid?


To answer these questions, we have analysed the main filings of Indeed Ireland Operations over a five-year period between 2017 and 2021 across eight metrics. The recruiter located in Ireland in 2013, but the five-year window under review gives a sense of the role of Dublin within the Japanese-owned recruitment firm’s global operations, and how Dublin has become more prominent in recent years.

Indeed Ireland Operations sits in the middle of the group’s complex Irish structure and is essentially the glue that holds it all together.

It has taken on increased prominence in the past two years, following a significant reorganisation of group structures in Japan and in the US. Under the restructuring, Indeed’s parent company Recruit pushed the button on a complex holding structure in Ireland, with large portions of its operations fully registered and domiciled in Ireland

Much of this centred around Indeed Ireland Operations. As we reported last year:

“In addition to the eight local Indeed subsidiaries established by the Dublin company to grow sales around Europe, in Singapore and in Mexico in previous years, the Irish office acquired the ‘full beneficial ownership’ of three more in large markets in July 2019: Canada, Australia and the mothership’s home nation of Japan itself.

‘These four units were previously held through the group’s UK unit (itself a subsidiary of Indeed Operations Ireland). As the Brexit transition period moved closer, Recruit went further in its use of Ireland as a conduit to control British assets: when it acquired Syft Online in May of last year and Blackstone Point in July, both recruitment platform providers in the UK, Indeed Ireland Operations was the entity conducting the transactions.

In simple terms, the company is now routing more of its international revenue through Dublin. And this has had a seismic impact on the finance of Indeed Ireland Operations.

The company’s revenues ebbed and flowed between 2017 and 2020, peaking at €756.9 million in 2019 before falling back to €623.9 million in 2020. However, last year it increased by 76 per cent to €1.09 billion. This shows the impact of the new group structure where the revenue from more markets is booked through Ireland.

According to the company:

“Revenue is generated primarily through online job advertising. Indeed invoices third-party customers for job advertisements on the Indeed platform. The company has also entered into reseller agreements with a number of fellow group companies in respect of the sale of job advertising services in their respective territories.”

The enhanced role had an impact on the company’s cost base. The company’s cost of sales had traditionally been very low but spiked to €45.8 million last year.

Meanwhile, administration expenses increased from €622 million in 2020 to €779.8 in 2021.

A big part of costs is headcount. Over the five-year period, you can see the company’s expansion in Ireland and what it has meant for headcount. Staff numbers were 676 in 2017, before rising to 1,242 last year. From its original international headquarters on St Stephen's Green, the firm's Dublin office have expanded to a larger block in the Docklands.

Interestingly, despite more business being booked in Ireland, headcount remained largely static between 2020 and 2021. The wages bill did increase, however. In 2020, the wages and salaries bill was €126 million. last year, the figure was €151.9 million. The numbers do not include pension costs or social costs. Based on these numbers, the average salary at the company in 2021 was €122,000.

This is before share-based payments are included. There were no payments in 2020, but staff were paid €6.1 million in share-based payments last year.

The company’s profitability makes for interesting reading, and, until last year, largely reflected the company’s desire to invest on marketing and advertising. It made a €150 million pre-tax profit in 2019, before falling back to a €5.4 million pre-tax loss the following year. Last year, however, profits surged to €268.3 million.

This bumper profit led to a hefty €34 million tax charge last year. This was the most it paid over the five-year period under review. Back in 2018, it actually received a tax credit of €28.8 million, which the company said related to the recovery of a deferred tax asset of €29 million.

As the above two graphs, the 2021 profit has had a big effect on its balance sheet. Both retained earnings and its overall equity position have moved into a positive position for the first time in recent years.

Again, it is worth stressing that the company opted to make losses as part of an investment strategy.

As stated in its 2020 accounts: “The main driver of this negative net asset position is the significant spend on advertising and marketing which the company have committed to since 2013 as it expands its international operations.”

Nonetheless, the decision to restructure its business and root more of it in Ireland had a massive impact on its financial performance – and the amount that it contributes to the Exchequer.