Business Irish

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Chief executives concerned about lack of key skills

PwC managing partner Feargal O’Rourke
PwC managing partner Feargal O’Rourke
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The number of chief executives in Ireland concerned about the lack of availability of key skills has hit an 11-year high, according to a survey.

And with stiff competition for key talent, 77pc are concerned about rising labour costs, according to the latest CEO Pulse Survey from accountancy giant PwC.

Other business threats include cyber threats (78pc), increasing red tape associated with tax and compliance burdens (77pc), increased competition (76pc) and the impact of digital on changing business models (63pc).

The survey also shows that confidence in the economy has dropped amidst uncertainties, not least the impact of the UK vote to leave the European Union. However, the survey was carried out before the vote was held on June 23.

Feargal O'Rourke, managing partner, PwC, said the UK vote to pull out has shaken the markets.

"While we hope that the post-Brexit relationship between the EU and the UK will remain open and close, we urge businesses to plan for every scenario and be prepared to manage new operational risks that may occur," he said.

"Despite the uncertainties, Irish businesses should focus on continuing their growth plans. Maintaining cost competitiveness and ensuring access to key talent will be fundamental."

A vote by the UK electorate to leave the European Union (93pc) was the top threat to growth. Some 87pc of respondents said that it would have a negative impact on the Irish economy.

Other economic and policy risks highlighted in the report are geopolitical uncertainty (84pc), political uncertainty (83pc), volatility in China (79pc), over-regulation (78pc) and the outcome of the US elections (74pc). The survey shows that the UK is Ireland's most important export market.

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