30% of firms encounter skills shortage when hiring

Broadband is vital

More than 30% of Irish firms are having difficulty finding staff with requisite skill levels, according to a survey.

The inaugural Regional Business Barometer, conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of cloud telecoms provider Magnet, shows a mixed bag of opinion among SMEs.

Most are optimistic about the future, with 10% intending to open new premises this year. However, those employing five people or fewer are least optimistic; just over 30% are finding it hard to find staff with the right skills fit and there are low awareness levels of Government supports available.

The survey also revealed that firms in the Mid-West — covering Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary — are most confident, followed by those in Dublin, at rates of 73% and 67% respectively. In contrast, only 57% of firms in Cork and Kerry said they were confident in the future.

Magnet CEO Mark Kellett said: “Businesses are proving very resilient in the face of the high operating costs and financing issues they are facing. While the upswing is seeping through to all businesses, it’s clear the smaller ones are most vulnerable and in need of support.”

He added that the low awareness of available supports for SMEs is “striking”.

“The poor take-up of these schemes means more needs to be done by both Government and industry to educate the SME community of the supports available,” said Mr Kellett.“An acceleration of the planned roll-out of the national broadband scheme is critical so that all Irish SMEs can avail of the supports such as the online trading voucher.”

Almost one third of firms do not know who their local representatives are, but 30% plan on investing in IT infrastructure within the next 12 months, the report shows.


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