BT adds £655 million to Northern Ireland economy and supports more than 7,000 jobs according to independent report

Vital contribution made to NI economy during Covid-19 pandemic

  • BT Group employs 1 in every 4 employees in IT and communications sector in Northern Ireland

  • 7,270 total jobs supported through direct and indirect effects

  • £155 million annual supply chain spend in Northern Ireland

BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees, are responsible for supporting more than 7,270 jobs in Northern Ireland, according to an independent report published today.

The Economic Impact of BT Group in the UK report, by consultancy firm Hatch, calculates that the communications and technology company generated more than £24 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy during the last financial year, including £655 million in Northern Ireland alone*.

The report estimates that around 7,270 full-time jobs in Northern Ireland are supported by BT Group through direct and indirect effects. The firm also spent £155 million with suppliers based in Northern Ireland, including those in construction and telecommunications industries.

BT Group has broadband and mobile networks spanning from the Scilly Isles to Shetland, built and maintained by some of the 82,800 direct employees it has in the UK. In Northern Ireland, the firm directly employs 2,900 people, with a further 436 employed as contractors.

The company is currently modernising its business, including investing in the UK’s largest workplace consolidation and modernisation programme, as it moves from 300 locations to around 30 as part of its Better Workplace programme. The firm also plans to invest in the refurbishment of its flagship Belfast office at Riverside Tower, providing a future-fit workplace of the future for thousands of colleagues. More announcements are expected later this year.

Last week BT unveiled plans to recruit more apprentices and graduates in Northern Ireland for its September 2021 intake. Meanwhile, Openreach, the digital network business, part of BT Group, announced that it plans to hire more than 100 new apprentice engineers in Northern Ireland before the end of March this year.

Mark Dames, BT Group head of public affairs for Northern Ireland, said: “I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the Northern Ireland economy. At an important time for our region, our spending on people, networks and suppliers, provides a vital economic boost. The wider impact of that spending helps to sustain communities and small businesses right across Northern Ireland.

“In the past year, having good connectivity has become more important than ever as we’ve all had to work, learn, and spend more leisure time online. Despite these challenges, our dedicated and determined colleagues have ensured EE’s 5G network has been extended to cover 125 towns and cities across the UK and we have become the first communications company in the UK and Ireland to build and manage a live 5G Private Network to help digitally transform the port at Belfast harbour.

“The company has now built out Openreach’s full-fibre network to reach 4.1 million premises and EE’s 4G network now reaches 85 per cent of the UK. I know these significant investments will help to underpin the country’s economic recovery post-Covid.”

Employees from across BT Group, which includes Openreach, EE and Plusnet, have played a key role in keeping the country connected during the pandemic. The company has provided critical support to the NHS, SMEs via its Small Business Support Scheme and school children by providing unlimited broadband and mobile data, free and mobile data, free BT Wi-Fi vouchers and zero rating access to two of the most popular online education sites.

BT’s Consumer contact centres now handle 100% of customer calls in the UK, at centres from Enniskillen to Dundee. Since customer service for BT, EE and Plusnet customers was brought back to the UK and Ireland last year, more than 34 million calls have been handled.

Angela McGowan, Regional Director, CBI said: “This latest research demonstrates the extent to which BT continues to have a massive impact on our local economy and jobs. It’s great to see this significant presence in Northern Ireland.

“BT Group’s investment in the area not only means a boost to the local economy, but also to skills and high quality jobs, including recruiting apprentices and graduates. BT’s investment in the fastest networks and latest technology is also vital for the region as well as the fact that they are a large purchaser for local supply chains. BT’s success is based on smart investments in both technology and people.”

Tim Fanning, Director at Hatch, said: “Our analysis underlines how vast BT Group’s contribution is to the UK economy as a whole as well as to individual communities in the nations and regions. Its presence across the country generates significant further activity and investment, supporting many thousands of jobs.”

Summary of results for year 2019/20 – Northern Ireland: 

• 2,900 employees directly working for BT Group, and 436 contractors (Full Time Equivalent – FTE) in Northern Ireland

• 7,270 total FTE jobs supported (including indirect and induced effects) in Northern Ireland

• £115 million total income of BT Group employees (including contractors)

• £155 million spend with suppliers based in Northern Ireland

• £655 million total GVA impact associated with BT Group activities (including indirect and induced effects) in Northern Ireland

• BT Group employed 1 in every 4 in the IT and Communications sector and directly employed 1 in every 170 employees in the private sector across Northern Ireland

• BT Group directly created £1 in every £110 of GVA in Northern Ireland

• As a result of the full economic impact of BT Group, the firm supported £1 in every £60 of GVA in the Northern Ireland economy and 1 in every 80 employees working in the Northern Ireland economy


Notes to editors:

*Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the value of all goods and services produced in an economy. GVA combines wages and operating profits from companies and other organisations. Growing GVA can reflect improvements in workforce skills, productivity, R&D and innovation. The figures for BT show the value added directly through BT's services and additional value generated through BT's suppliers across the nations and regions.

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about