Confidence among CEOs trebles

Confidence among Irish business leaders in the future of their own business and the economy almost trebled in the last year, new figures show.

A far greater number of company chiefs executive said they were positive about the outlook of the economy; up from 31% in 2013 to 86% this year.

More than three-quarters of the 250 chiefs executives surveyed as part of Price-WaterhouseCoopers’ CEO Pulse Survey were favourable about the future of their company.

PwC senior partner Ronan Murphy said the results marked a turning point in the attitudes of business leaders.

“The survey shows that the pendulum has swung, with levels of confidence across many areas of business now higher than 2007 and pre-recessionary times,” he said.

“Substantially more CEOs expect revenue and profit growth and confidence among multinational corporation CEOs has also improved,” he said.

“The survey also highlights that the skills challenge persists and competitive wage rates is a key concern for both indigenous and multinational CEOs.”

The challenges that chief executives feel could hamper economic growth include a rising tax burden on firms (86%), increasing labour costs (81%), and the availability of key skills (69%).

Despite these concerns, almost six in ten respondents to the survey reported their businesses to be in better financial health now than before the financial crisis, although nearly a third feel they are in a worse position.

Welcoming the survey, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said it provided further proof that economic recovery was taking hold and that people were returning to employment in growing numbers.

“The CEO Pulse Survey published by PwC is a very welcome addition to our understanding of what is happening in the economy, and is the latest in a growing number of signs that the jobs recovery, which has started over the last two years, is set to broaden and deepen,” he said.

Mr Bruton’s belief that more jobs are likely to come on stream in the near future is borne out by the report which shows that more than half the companies surveyed plan to increase their workforce, up from 34% last year. Just over one in ten anticipate layoffs.

Satisfaction among chiefs executive of multinational firms was overwhelmingly positive, with 92% reporting their company’s investment in Ireland as a success.

Further availability of skilled workers could also lead to greater levels of investment from multinationals, as 78% of respondents identified this as the most crucial factor for increasing or maintaining their involvement in the Irish market.

The increasing tax burden was cited as the greatest threat to business growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents said the global tax system is in need of reform.


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