Multinational companies operating in Ireland are confident that they will increase their turnover and employment levels here despite a growing skills shortage.
The Irish Management Institute (IMI)/ Danske Bank Survey of Multinational Corporations in Ireland found that 35% of firms expect employment numbers to increase and 43% expect turnover to increase.
The percentage of firms expecting employment to increase has declined compared to 2011 when 48% of firms had expected employment to increase, but there is still a marked improvement on 2010 and 2009 when only 11% of firms were expecting their workforce to grow.
Chief executive of the Irish Management Institute, Dr Simon Boucher, said there is a mismatch between the skills that the country is producing and those that are required by industry.
“A highly skilled workforce is essential to attract and retain higher value-added activities. With 57% of firms specifying some difficulty finding the right skills, according to this survey, there is a clear need for practical action to close the gap between the worlds of education and work,” he said.
Despite the difficulties that businesses are experiencing in recruiting the right talent the majority of foreign firms operating in Ireland consider their Irish operations to be key to the companies overall operations.
CEO of IDA Ireland, Barry O’Leary, said it was encouraging to see that foreign multinational firms have come to rely on Irish firms as part of their supply chain.
“It is also encouraging to note that in over half of the foreign-owned firms surveyed the Irish operation is a strategic centre for their international business, this includes two-thirds of all US-owned firms. Strategically important operations tend to embed themselves in the local economy, providing well paid and sustainable employment,” he said.
Not only are the firms embedded here but about half of respondents said that they compete within the global structure of their organisations to win new functions for the Irish operations.
Some of the respondents pointed to the rising cost base in Ireland, with some citing energy, labour, transport and telecommunications as expensive.
Despite a number of years of austere budgets senior economist with Danske Bank, Owen Callan, said Mr Noonan had managed to avoid taxing businesses out of the country.
“Minister for Finance Michael Noonan did offer some encouraging pro-business and pro-growth initiatives. It also managed to avoid too many anti-growth taxation measures. Minister Noonan also made some moves to ensure that Ireland is not viewed as a tax haven by either the US or EU.”
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