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Leading firms in 13,000-job scheme

THE BIGGEST companies in Ireland plan to create 13,000 new jobs in the next five years, according to new research.

A total of 94pc of the largest employers here said they are actively planning to increase their employment by an average of 10pc in that period.

The report, published yesterday by Accenture and carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit, investigated 151 of the country's largest employers, around a third of which are foreign-based firms and already employ up to 133,000 people between them.

Some 6pc said they didn't expect to create any jobs at all before 2017.

Middle-class consumers from India, China and Russia are the main focus for growth opportunities among Irish businesses over the next five years and 96pc of companies are looking to at least one of these emerging markets.

The report, called The Global Consumer Opportunity -- Are The Irish Ready?, was written by economist Ronan Lyons.

And he said it was "encouraging" to see Irish organisations looking at opportunities and expansion and not just at cost-cutting measures.

Almost half (42pc) believed that the "emerging consumer" -- consumers in emerging markets -- were most important to their expansion plans.

But the report also says that many have not yet invested in a physical presence in their chosen country.