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Irish businesses more optimistic in 2013 - Grant Thornton report

Irish businesses more optimistic in 2013 - Grant Thornton report

Irish businesses more optimistic in 2013 - Grant Thornton report

Pictured: Patrick Burke

Irish businesses are feeling more optimistic about the economic outlook than they were 12 months ago and have increased expectations of investing more in their businesses and hiring new staff this year, according to the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2013, released today.

The IBR report, which surveyed 44 countries, reveals that 36pc of senior Irish executives are optimistic about the country’s economic prospects, up from 30pc last year. This compares with an average of 27pc across the EU, which is down 2pc on 2012.

Fifty-four percent of Irish businesses expect profit growth in 2013, compared to 30pc in 2012.  

Irish businesses are investing in talent, according to the report, with 92pc expecting employment to increase or remain the same in 2013, a sharp increase from 68pc in last year’s survey. Measurements tracking willingness of businesses to invest in research and new equipment and machinery also showed sharp increases in the past twelve months.

“After five years of toil, Irish businesses are more cost efficient and lean, with senior executive sentiment in these organisations reflecting this trend,” said Patrick Burke, partner at Grant Thornton. “The improving outlook on jobs and investment is particularly welcome, but we have a long way to go before we could describe the Irish economy as returning to robust growth.

“It continues to be a two-speed recovery, with the export sector showing growth, but the domestic economy remaining weak. The announcements of jobs created last year from Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in recent days are welcome, but a significant drop in the unemployment rate from its current level of 14.6pc will be years in coming, rather than months.

“Fiscal measures to plug the hole in the government’s balance sheet are a drag on consumer sentiment and spending that might otherwise help drive domestic growth.”

IBR 2013 also finds that Ireland ranks fourth out of 44 countries surveyed for export growth expectations, beaten only by Turkey, India and China, and ahead of all other EU member states surveyed. And Ireland ranks first in the world for the availability of skilled labour for the second year running.