Cork firms confident in face of challenges

by Pádraig Hoare

Businesses in Cork are unanimously confident about the future despite external threats such as Brexit, according to a survey, with more than three-quarters of firms planning to hire in the next year.

Of 110 Cork business leaders surveyed by PwC, 55% said they were very confident and 45% said they were confident. None said they were not confident.

More than half of businesses said they would increase their workforce by more than 5% in the next year, while a quarter said they would expand by less than 5%. Just over one in 10 said they would contract.

The leaders said unanimously that automation and artificial intelligence would have a significant impact on their business in the next five years — a third said it would be profound.

Two-thirds said they would be ready for the changes coming but that their business would need more investment.

PwC Cork senior partner Ger O’Mahoney said the survey shows that businesses need to be constantly looking at ways to evolve and stay relevant.

“When I began in 1986, we had three computers between 60 people in the office. Now we have phones with the power of 60 computers in our hand. The pace of change is constantly quickening and businesses need to be reactive and adaptive,” he said.

Mr O’Mahoney said while automation has historically meant the end of some traditional roles, it has opened doors for more.

“This generation of millennials has to have the resilience to stay the course. There will be opportunities but the skillsets will be different,” he said.

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