By: Claire Wilson. Last Updated: March 2023

Lilly Logo

Overview of Lilly Worldwide

  • Reported Revenue 2022: $28.5 billion
  • Estimated R&D Spend 2022: $7.2 billion
  • Global Number of Employees 2022: 39,000

Colonel Eli Lilly started the company in 1876. His motto to his employees, and all that followed within the company, was:

“Take what you find here and make it better and better.”

In 1923, Lilly launched the first commercially available insulin product. Their focus on diabetes care continued and in 1982, the company launched Humulin – insulin that was manufactured but identical to that produced by the human body.

Lilly is also well know as one of the first companies to mass produce penicillin in the 1940s, as well as launching Prozac in the mid 1980s.

Today, Lilly have R&D facilities in 7 countries, manufacturing sites in 7 countries, and products sold in 120 countries. Their products are used in disease areas including diabetes and cancer, and in pain management.


Lilly in Ireland

Lilly has had a presence in Ireland since 1978.

Currently, with their manufacturing operations and Global Business Solutions site in Cork (Kinsale and Little Island respectively), the company employs approximately 2,500 people in the country.

In 2022, the Lilly announced plans for a new manufacturing facility in Limerick.

Overall rating by their employees 2022 (source):

image of 3 and a half gold stars

Lilly in Cork

  • Employees in Cork: 2,500
  • Activities: Manufacturing & Global Business Solutions

Lilly’s Kinsale site was purchased as a farm in 1978. Today, over 1,000 people work in the high-tech manufacturing facilities on the 50-hectare site, producing the active ingredients for Lilly pharmaceutical products.

In 2021, Lily unveiled a solar power farm that now powers “a significant proportion of the Irish Lilly manufacturing campus”. This is just one of the strategies taken by the company as they try to reach their goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

The site is also unique within Ireland as it houses chemical synthesis, biotechnology and continuous manufacturing.

As well as manufacturing, the Kinsale facilities also provide “late-phase product development and process optimisation” as well as a pilot-scale biotechnology plant. The facility’s Small Volume Continuous project was awarded the “Process Innovation” prize in the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers’ “Facility of the Year” competition.

Here’s a short video from Lilly about their “Commitment to Continuous Manufacturing”:

The Little Island Global Business Solutions site employs over 1,300 people working in areas such as finance, HR data management, supply chain, customer service, etc.

These two sites submitted a joint bid that ultimately saw Lilly awarded “Cork Company of the Year” by Cork Chamber of Commerce in 2021.

Click here to see our full county guide for Cork.

Lilly in Limerick

  • Employees in Limerick: 0 currently; 300 expected once complete
  • Activities: Biologics manufacturing (planned)

In January 2022, Lilly announced plans for a €400m investment to create a new biologics manufacturing facility – planning permission was granted in October of that year. It is estimated that the site could employ up to 300 people once fully operational.

At the launch of the site in March 2023, the company announced they were doubling investment to $1 billion. The site is expected to make use of sustainability measures such as solar energy and rainwater harvesting.

The Future of Lilly in Ireland

In January 2022, Lilly announced plans for a €400m investment to create a new biologics manufacturing facility in Limerick. It is estimated that the site could employ up to 300 people once fully operational. At the March 2023 launch, the company announced that they were doubling their initial investment to $1 billion.

How to Get a Job With Lilly in Ireland

If you already have experience in the pharma or medical device manufacturing industries, you can head straight over to our dedicated pharma jobs board and see the current Lilly vacancies in Ireland.

If you have some science, quality, or engineering qualifications/work experience, check out our specialist conversion courses that bridge the gap between your current knowledge and the technical information required to work in this highly regulated industry:

For all other backgrounds (including sales, retail, hospitality, etc), check out our Conversion Course into Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. This course helps you take the transferable skills acquired in any other industry and combines them with essential technical knowledge and job-hunting skills, to make you an ideal candidate for entry-level pharma manufacturing jobs. (Note: NO science or engineering knowledge or experience is needed!)

About the Author

Image with Claire Wilison from GetReskilled Team

Claire Wilson

Content Marketing and Career Coaching

Claire runs GetReskilled’s Advanced Career Coaching Programme – our specially devised job hunting course that helps our trainees take that final step into employment by leading them through the job hunting process. She is extremely enthusiastic about helping people reach their final goal of employment in their new career path.

Claire has a BSc (Hons) in Medical Biology from Edinburgh University and spent 7 years working in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.