Businesses Bullish About 2018

02 Jan 2018 | 10.21 am

Businesses Bullish About 2018

Dublin Chamber and SFA surveys

02 Jan 2018 | 10.21 am

How to acquire and retain key staff is top of the list of concerns among Dublin businesses for the New Year, along with new data protection regulations and worsening traffic problems in the capital, according to Dublin Chamber.

The lobby group’s latest survey of 210 member companies shows that more than two-thirds rank retention and attraction of employees as an issue of high concern for 2018, while concerns about new GDPR data protection legislation — due to come into effect on May 25 — provide the second biggest headache for firms: 62% stated that they are highly concerned by how the new regulations will impact on their business.

Almost a quarter of respondents said they feel their business is unprepared for GDPR, though six out of ten said they feel ‘quite prepared’ for GDPR, while 11% believe they are ‘very prepared’.

Traffic is expected to remain a big issue for Dublin businesses in the year ahead. Half the Dublin Chamber respondents said they were highly concerned about the impact of congestion on their firm in 2018.

Dublin Chamber chief executive Mary Rose Burke (pictured) commented: “Businesses are in a relatively good place going in to 2018, though there are a number of significant challenges that companies will need to overcome over the next 12 months. It’s no surprise that concerns over retaining and attracting good staff are top of mind. With the country edging ever closer to full employment, competition for talent continues to heat up. We have some of the world’s best staff working in Dublin, but keeping them here and attracting more like them has never been tougher.”

As a continued concern, Brexit lies in fourth place, with 49% pinpointing it as an issue they were highly concerned about over the coming 12 months. Other issues highlighted in the survey included rising insurance costs (40%), euro/sterling currency fluctuations (34%), and government instability (32%).

Profit Expectations 

Of the Dublin Chamber members responding to the survey, 84% stated that they expect revenues to increase in 2018. Only 5% indicated that they anticipate a fall in revenues in the year ahead, with 11% expecting revenues to remain flat.

Companies are predicting that 2018 will be good for the bottom line too. Around three quarters said they expect profits to increase in the coming 12 months. 18% of respondents said they do not expect profits to rise.

The anticipated uptick in revenues is likely to translate into new jobs being created. Two thirds of respondents said they hope to increase staff numbers in 2018. 

In a separate survey, the Small Firms Association reports that its members are largely optimistic about 2018, with almost three-quarters likely to recruit new staff this year and two-thirds certain that business will improve for them.

SFA director Sven Spollen-Behrens observed: “Whilst cautious optimism seems to be returning amid emerging wage demands, the increasing cost of doing business and Brexit dampens the mood. However, nearly 60% of SFA members say their businesses are growing, with only 4% declining. This shows that 2018 has the potential to be a strong year, if the risks are managed effectively at firm level and government level.”

The same concerns dominated among respondents to the SFA survey as among Dublin Chamber’s: the ability to attract talent, legislative and regulatory burdens, and increasing business costs as well as wage inflation, Brexit, and the sterling exchange rate.



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