CEOs upbeat on GDP growth

A quarter of chief executives expect GDP growth of at least 4% next year while seven in ten believe it will match or exceed recent predictions of 3%.

With the Irish economy currently growing at the fastest of any in the EU, an even greater proportion of company bosses are confident in the country’s capacity to exceed average EU GDP growth rates over the next two to three years, according to a new report released by Deloitte.

While the survey’s tone was generally positive, the area of education and potential skills shortages was raised as a concern.

Nine out of ten respondents felt that with CAO points requirements growing strongly every year for key FDI-related disciplines such as IT, science, and engineering, the number of places in third-level institutions should be increased in each of these disciplines to meet business demand.

A concern raised ahead of the CEO Forum on the theme of internationalisation, to be held tomorrow in Dublin Castle, was access to working capital which 35% of business leaders cited as the primary restriction to greater exports.

Staffing was the biggest issue for those surveyed, with 12% worried about levels of staff mobility; 20% concerned with the availability of graduates, and a further 21% stressing the difficulty of sourcing suitably qualified and skilled local employees abroad.

In contrast, only 12% said that they faced significant challenges in adapting their products to new markets.

“Support for companies focused on growth through international sales is a priority. Going global with a business can secure a company’s future, safeguard Irish jobs, expose businesses to a whole new world of ideas and enable them to compete, and win, against the best in the world,” said Enterprise Ireland chief executive, Julie Sinnamon.

The survey also revealed that Irish businesses are still relatively dependent on UK; EU, and North American markets. When asked which of the markets were most important for growth 55% identified the UK, 21% North America, 16% EU, with only 4% naming BRIC (Brazil, India, Russia, China), 3% Asia Pacific, and just 1% CIVITS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa).

Jobs minister Richard Bruton and Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary will be among the speakers at tomorrow’s event.


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