Fortune 500 company considered 15 locations, then found talent in Northern Ireland.
In October 2019, Aflac opened a Global IT and Cyber Security Innovation Centre in Northern Ireland, committing to create 150 IT and cyber security jobs over five years. The purpose of the Belfast centre is to provide technical expertise and operational support to complement existing technical operations, helping support customers and global market growth.
Investing in advanced technologies is at the heart of Aflac’s strategy for delivering exceptional customer service, and the company found Northern Ireland particularly attractive due to its expertise in mobile and cloud development and intelligent surveillance technology. Its executive leadership were also pleased the new centre would provide an additional time zone in the UK – ideally situated between customers in the US and Asia – to enable expanded threat monitoring and response.
Aflac conducted extensive research to identify a location that would support its business strategy. It considered 15 locations in the US and internationally over more than a year.
Why Northern Ireland?
- The existing cluster of insurance companies, such as Allstate and Liberty Mutual
- Availability of insuretech talent
- Accessibility to the US and other global markets
- English-speaking workforce
- Cultural alignment
- The warm welcome
For Aflac, given the global competition for tech talent, access to the right talent and skills was critical.
Invest NI provided just over £1 million in financial support for job creation, and connected the company to Assured Skills, Northern Ireland’s 100% free, customised training and recruitment programme, available to investors to ensure they have access to a workforce trained for their specific needs.
The programme helped Aflac more than double in size during the pandemic, and they have plans for future Assured Skills training academies. Northern Ireland’s digital infrastructure helped the company recruit and on-board remotely—leadership called Belfast “resilient, reinventive and adaptable” and maintained the company’s commitment to growing the team there.