Most Irish business 'expecting to increase or maintain employment in 2013'
on 10/01/2013 09:47:10
The figure in the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2013 showed a sharp increase from 68% in last year's survey.
The international business report, surveying 44 countries, showed that 36% of senior Irish executives are optimistic about the country's economic prospects, up from 30% last year.
This improving trend compares with an average of 27% across the European Union, a decrease of 2% on 2012, and indicating that many of our EU partners have been slower to adapt to the realities of fiscal and structural change.
Measurements tracking willingness of businesses to invest in research and new equipment and machinery also showed sharp increases in the past 12 months.
Commenting on the report, Patrick Burke, partner at Grant Thornton said: "After five years of toil, Irish businesses are more cost efficient and lean, with senior executive sentiment in these organisations reflecting this trend.
"The improving outlook on jobs and investment is particularly welcome, but we have a long way to go before we could describe the Irish economy as returning to robust growth.
"It continues to be a two speed recovery, with the export sector showing growth, but the domestic economy remaining weak.
"The announcements of jobs created last year from Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in recent days are welcome, but a significant drop in the unemployment rate from its current level of 14.6% will be years in coming, rather than months."
"Key challenges that all Irish businesses face are the higher taxes necessitated by the state's debt burden and the unresolved public sector pension deficit, and their knock on effect on consumer spending. Public sector pensions now account for 14% of the government's total pay and pension bill, up 44% since 2008.
"Fiscal measures to plug the hole in the government's balance sheet are a drag on consumer sentiment and spending that might otherwise help drive domestic growth."
Ireland ranks 4th out of 44 countries surveyed for export growth expectations, the survey found, only beaten by Turkey, India and China, and ahead of all other EU member states surveyed
Ireland ranked first in the world for the availability of skilled labour for the second year running
A total 54% of Irish businesses expect profit growth in 2013, compared to 30% in 2012.