Business Plus

Workday Bets Big On Dublin Workforce


American firms show little sign of waning in their enthusiasm for Ireland, despite the probabilit­y of a 15% tax rate becoming reality in a few years’ time. Betting big on Ireland’s workforce is Workday, the California company whose online workplace platform is cornering the market for self-serve HR. The company already employs 1,700 people in Dublin and has plans to recruit 1,000 more over the next two years. They will be located at a massive new building at Grangegorm­an in Dublin 7, on a campus extending to 550,000 sq.ft. In the meantime, Workday is taking up space at the 80,000 sq.ft. Dockline Building in the IFSC. Workday’s origins go back to 2005, when David Duffield and Aneel Bhusri left PeopleSoft after it was acquired by Oracle. The Workday product was launched in November 2006, and one of the new venture’s first buys was Cape Clear Software in Dublin in 2008. Like most of its fast-growth US tech peers, Workday incentivis­es employees with share options. For the financial year ending January 2022, one-fifth of Workday’s total $5.3bn expenses was accounted for by share-based compensati­on. That’s a sizeable top-up to pay packets. When Workday went public in 2012, it listed at $28 per share. Recently the share was trading at the $230 level, valuing the enterprise at $58bn. That’s a multiple of 14 times annual turnover, and the company has yet to deliver an operating profit. However, when the share option cost is stripped out, the profit last year was c.$1bn. Workday’s annual revenue growth has been 19% in each of the past two years, and all the new hires in Dublin are intended to maintain that momentum. Duffield and his colleagues are thinking long-term, with the company funding coding workshops in Dublin primary schools, and developing graduate pipeline courses with the three Technology University Dublin campuses.

Though Workday started out with a human resources focus, in recent years it has been pushing into finance solutions. The company now offers Workday-branded Financial Management, Adaptive Planning, Accounting Center, Prism Analytics, Spend Management and Strategic Sourcing products. These solutions revolve around the requiremen­ts of CFOs in corporates and, according to Workday, “bring new levels of visibility and control that go beyond the boundaries of traditiona­l ERP systems”. Though the Workday growth story is impressive, the shine has come off the share price, which is trading below the price a year ago. The inevitable logic of American capitalism is that even with a market cap of $58bn, Workday could one day be picked off by Oracle (market cap $219bn), SAP ($136bn), or some other peer. Should that happen, Dublin’s already inflated residentia­l property market would be hit with another sugar rush.

 ?? MAXWELLS ?? Taoiseach Micheál Martin (left) and Chano Fernandez (right), Workday’s Co-CEO
MAXWELLS Taoiseach Micheál Martin (left) and Chano Fernandez (right), Workday’s Co-CEO

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