Thursday 21 September 2017

Big firms aim to create 13,000 jobs in five years

Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

IRELAND'S largest firms are expecting to create around 13,000 jobs in the next five years with 94pc of companies planning to increase their employment by an average of 10pc in that period.

In a new report published yesterday by Accenture and carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 151 of the country's largest employers, around a third of which are foreign-based firms, said they are looking to expand over the next five years.

The companies surveyed already employ up to 133,000 people here and just 6pc didn't expect to create any jobs at all before 2017.

Entitled 'The Global Consumer Opportunity -- Are the Irish Ready?', a total 95pc of those surveyed said they were "effective" at moving into new markets.

The report's author, economist Ronan Lyons, said it was "encouraging" to see Irish organisations looking at opportunities and expansion and not just at cost-cutting measures.

Almost half (42pc) believed that the "emerging consumer", that is, those in emerging markets, were most important to their expansion plans. This is especially true given that Ireland's established markets at home and in Europe would likely be characterised as "frugal consumers".

Middle-class consumers from India, China and Russia are the main targets for growth opportunities among Irish businesses over the next five years with 96pc of companies looking to at least one emerging market.

China is the top target with 17pc of companies identifying it as the market they favour most. India comes a close second (13pc) followed by Russia (7pc) and South Africa (5pc).

The report identified five key "new consumer" types globally. They are the "emerging consumer" -- considered the most important -- followed by the "connected consumer", the online buyer of goods and services. The "frugal consumer" is a buyer based in Ireland and in other developed countries, most of which offer cramped opportunities for expansion.

There is the "aging consumer", based on the fact that the aged percentage of the global population is fast increasing (China's population is actually aging fastest of all) and finally the "caring consumer" -- for example, those behind the growth of Fairtrade by 40pc per annum.

On the downside, the report also identifies some weaknesses in the Irish expansion approach. "While companies might say they have plans and resources in place to expand their efforts in emerging markets, the reality is that many have not yet invested in a physical presence in their chosen country," Mr Lyons said.

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