We analyze the influence of innovation on growth rates of employment in 859 Dutch manufacturing firms over the period 1983–1988. Whereas the (growth of the) R&D intensity of firms has a slightly negative impact on employment, we find that firms with a high share of product-related R&D (as a proxi of R&D related to industrial activities in an early stage of the life cycle) experienced an above average growth of employment. The same holds for firms which directed their R&D towards information technology. Smaller firms have, ceteris paribus, substantially higher growth rates of employment than their larger counterparts. Against our expectations, R&D cooperation has no significant impact on employment growth. The same holds for activities in the fields of biotechnology and new materials.