Confidence voted biggest issue
POOR consumer confidence, leading to decreased spending and demand, was cited as the biggest issue facing Irish businesses according to our poll.
Over 52 per cent of respondents in the Sunday Independent Business Leaders Survey 2010 believed it to be the most pressing issue.
Last year, just 13.5 per cent of business leaders cited poor consumer confidence as the biggest issue they felt their companies faced.
Banking and financing issues were pinpointed as the major problem by nearly 22 per cent of our corporate bosses. Despite protestations from the banks that they are lending to business, the number of major company bosses highlighting financing as the biggest issue facing their companies has trebled since last year, when just 7.7 per cent of chief executives picked it as the elephant in the room.
Loss of competitiveness was singled out by over 13 per cent of respondents.
Surprisingly, despite Ireland's reputation as a high-cost economy, the issue of high rents was not on the list of worries for Irish business leaders.
While commercial rents drove up office prices by almost 50 per cent in 2007, the last year of the boom, the number of 'To Let' signs on office blocks around the country suggests that a bargain can be had for the first time in years.
The result is that only three per cent of those surveyed saw rent as being their biggest concern.