The Taoiseach is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos where he is meeting political leaders and the chief executives of US multinationals.
In the Swiss mountain resort, Leo Varadkar has met Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and Meta’s Nick Clegg, companies with a strong presence in Ireland.
The Taoiseach’s visit to Davos in the past have tended to combine panel debates on current geopolitical themes with high-level networking with political leaders and CEOs, the latter typically during the annual dinner hosted by the IDA.
This year, the global tech sector is facing a serious contraction and the Taoiseach’s appearance in Davos coincides with Microsoft’s announcement that it will cut 10,000 workers globally by the end of March.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar said the scale of job losses in Microsoft globally could be in the range of 5-10% and that it was “almost always possible” to achieve those cuts through voluntary redundancies.
He said: “What we are seeing is a resizing in the tech sector. With a few exceptions the job losses have been in the five to 10% space.
“That’s not to play it down in any way at all, but when there are job losses of that scale it’s almost always possible to do it through voluntary redundancies, and people are able to find other jobs in the sector because there’s still a huge number of vacancies.
“It’s something we’re monitoring very closely … but not something that we’re unduly concerned about at this stage.”
Mr Varadkar said the Government was in touch with Microsoft.
“They’re going to reduce employment levels and headcount across the world and Ireland will be affected by that. The company, though, will of course want to talk to its employees first, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to make any announcements in that regard.”
Mr Varadkar is also expected to meet British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who with his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, is on a charm offensive in Davos to convince political and corporate leaders that a Labour government would forge closer ties with the European Union.
Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves head to a meeting with CEOs during the World Economic Forum
The Taoiseach will take part in a panel debate entitled Widening Europe’s Horizons, alongside the European Parliament president Roberta Metsola and the Serbian president Aleksander Vucic.
According to a statement, Mr Varadkar will highlight Ireland’s economic potential, stability and strengths, including its pool of talented workers. He will also promote the Government’s plans to become a major off-shore wind generator.
Earlier in the day, he also met the Belarusian Opposition Leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and in a tweet said he is looking forward to welcoming her back to Ireland.