A lack of awareness internationally about Cork is proving to be one of the major challenges for firms in attracting talent, businesses in the region have said.
Cork Chamber’s economic trends survey for the third quarter found that low international awareness of Cork, housing, and income tax rates, were the biggest barriers to talent retention.
When it came to threats to business growth, Brexit and skills availability remain the biggest concerns, the chamber said.
The organisation said it had asked its members who resoundingly said increasing the region’s international profile was vital in order to attract the best talent from abroad, if Cork’s growth was to be maximised.
“Skills availability, attraction and retention are key to driving the sustainability of this growth and to maximising the opportunity.
“To match Cork’s ambition, international marketing campaigns such as WeAreCork are aimed at furthering Cork on the international map to business and talent.
“Attracting and retaining the right skills and experience are part and parcel of all growth stories, and Cork is no different,” the chamber said. Business confidence in the region was at 96% in the quarter, Cork Chamber said.
The body also called for a national ‘cluster policy’ to link rural SMEs and increase innovation.
The IDA said Cork “continues to be an attractive and compelling location which is evidenced by the increased level of investment and job creation by IDA client companies in the city and wider southwest region in recent years”.
There are over 35,000 people employed by foreign direct investment companies in Cork, with more than 9,000 since 2012, the agency said.
Cork Chamber hit out at the Employment Bill that aims to effectively ban most zero-hour contracts and introduce banded contract hours.
Ahead of a Seanad debate on the issue today, Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said: “It is incredible to think that an additional layer of administration could be added to the mix.
"Forcing banded-hour contracts will invariably lead to more cautious allocation of hours, and remove the flexibility that many small businesses require.”