two-thirds (67%) of directors surveyed are not satisfied with the Government’s efforts to support business growth in Ireland following two years in office

Research conducted by the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) with its members, has found that two-thirds (67%) of directors surveyed are not satisfied with the Government’s efforts to support business growth in Ireland following two years in office

Institute of Directors’ research findings

Two-thirds of directors not satisfied with Government’s efforts to support business growth
Dept of Finance best performing Government department; Dept of Health worst performing, say directors
Unemployment and public sector reform should be key priorities for Government in year ahead
Agri-food, foreign direct investment and technology are Ireland’s greatest economic opportunities
Promissory note ‘savings’ should be invested in supporting jobs growth
Three-quarters of directors say Ireland’s graduates not prepared for workplace
Half of directors say their business intends to create jobs in next 12 months
Government performance

Research conducted by the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) with its members, has found that two-thirds (67%) of directors surveyed are not satisfied with the Government’s efforts to support business growth in Ireland following two years in office. A further 74% of directors surveyed are unhappy with the pace of the Government’s efforts to implement reform and return Ireland to growth.

When asked to rate the Government’s performance in general terms during its first two years in office, directors are more positive, with 3 in 5 (60%) directors surveyed saying that the Government has performed adequately or well, although 1 in 4 (25%) believe that the Government needs to improve its performance.

Directors were also asked for their views on the performance of individual departments (see editors’ notes for performance table). The Department of Finance scored highly with the majority (59%) of directors surveyed rating its performance as good or excellent. The Department of Health is the worst performing department according to directors, with almost three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed rating its performance as poor or very poor.

In addition, directors are concerned about Government spending, with over half (52%) of those surveyed saying that spending is poorly managed.

Ireland’s future

According to 37% of directors surveyed, addressing unemployment should be the main priority for Government in the year ahead, while 33% of those surveyed believe that reforming the public sector should be the key priority. When asked how the Government should invest the €1bn ‘saving’ from the promissory note deal, 70% of directors say that the savings should be invested in supporting jobs growth in 2014.

The directors surveyed also outlined what they see as Ireland’s greatest economic opportunities and threats:

Ireland’s Greatest Economic Opportunity

Food & Agriculture – 27%
Foreign Direct Investment – 21%
Technology – 15%

Ireland’s Greatest Economic Threat

Unemployment – 45%
Global Recession – 38%
Mortgage Arrears – 29%

46% of directors think that the agreement to extend Ireland’s bailout loan repayment period will ensure our exit from the EU-IMF programme by the end of 2013, though 27% disagree and a further 27% are unsure.

Opinions are also split as to whether Irish banks will need further recapitalisation this year. Two in 5 (41%) directors think that further recapitalisation will be required, 37% disagree and 21% don’t know. 77% of directors surveyed believe that if such funding is required, it should come from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

The business environment and workforce

43% of directors surveyed say that the financial performance of their business has improved compared to the same period last year, while 1 in 3 (36%) report no change in financial performance. Encouragingly, over half (54%) of directors surveyed say their business intends to create jobs in the next 12 months.

Of concern is that three-quarters (76%) of directors do not believe that Ireland’s graduates are prepared for the workplace on leaving third level education, citing a lack of understanding of how business works and a lack of ability to work on their own initiative, as well as insufficient competence in foreign languages.

One in 2 (51%) directors surveyed believe that proposals to reduce the number of honours degree programmes provided in Ireland into more broadly based courses, with students specialising late, would improve the Irish education system.

Commenting on the results, Maura Quinn, Chief Executive, Institute of Directors in Ireland, said: “While it is encouraging to see that directors are generally optimistic about future job creation in their own businesses, there is a real concern among directors that Government is not doing enough to support business growth and they want to see Government focusing its efforts on addressing unemployment and supporting jobs growth in the year ahead.

“Economic opportunities in agri-food, foreign direct investment and technology must be realised and capitalised upon as a means of supporting Ireland’s growth and job creation.”

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