Irish Entrepreneurs in Search of Local Talent

With the worldwide economy attempting to recover from the recent devastating effects, many industries are once again open for business.

However, a lack of talent is proving to be a barrier in Ireland, preventing some companies from achieving their full potential.

Here’s a closer look at the labour market in Ireland and the reason why many businesses are struggling to recruit what they need.

Market Growth

Ireland as a whole performed remarkably well in last couple years, pushing their debt to GDP ratio downwards as growth boosted GDP. In September, Fitch doubled its growth predictions for the country, with Ireland experiencing faster growth than any of the other Fitch-rated sovereigns.

Analysis of the UK stock market bears out this forecast with solid performances across sectors which many believe is a direct response to considerable government support. With the Irish exchequer revenue growing by 25% between January and September, the government is in a strong position to continue to support business across the country.

Exports are one area that have enjoyed sustained growth in 2021, with more than half of companies reporting a rise. More than 90% of these companies said they expected further increases in exports in 2022, with Irish companies strengthening their presence in international markets.

Barriers to Expansion

Although there are clear opportunities for Irish businesses to grow and expand, many are finding it more challenging. This is due to a lack of “local talent” being available in the labour market, with many businesses struggling to attract skilled new workers.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni Survey is viewed as an annual litmus test for the economy, providing an accurate snapshot of entrepreneurs’ main issues. The 2021 survey reported that 96% of businesses were having problems with the quality of workers available, a statistic which has rocketed from just 53% the previous year.

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Nine out of ten businesses surveyed said they planned to expand the number of employees in the coming 12 months, putting further pressure on an already stretched workforce. Being able to attract and retain the best workers was one of the biggest concerns for Irish businesses in the year ahead, potentially blocking expansion plans.

However, lack of skilled workers wasn’t the only problem reported. One in five businesses admitted that recent adverse global events were still presenting a major barrier, while 40% pointed to a lack of funding as preventing growth.

Financing and lack of suitable workers across all sectors and geographic locations were highlighted as the primary concerns. Partner Lead for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Rodney Wallace described the need to identify and nurture Irish talent as “critical” and an issue that would be “vital to the economy” in the months and years ahead. Wallace called on business leaders and policymakers to do more to tackle the issues to ensure that entrepreneurs could continue with plans to grow and expand, pouring money back into the economy.

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