PwC has today released its latest CEO Pulse Survey. The survey was carried out in Spring/Summer 2017 amongst 200 participants across all industry sectors.
The survey shows that 58% of CEOs have a favourable economic outlook for the year ahead, compared to 71% last year. Three-quarters plan to grow revenues (down slightly from 84% last year), 64% plan to grow profits (2016: 74%) and half plan to increase headcount (2016: 62%).
According to the data, the key challenges for Irish CEOs include High personal tax burdens (93%), Brexit (89%), Rising wage costs (88%), Cyber threats (86%), Lack of affordable housing (84%), lack of key skills (81%) and exchange rate volatility (73%).
Critical factors cited to preserve investment in Ireland, according to the survey, include: retaining a competitive corporate tax rate (58%), maintaining and increasing our cost competitiveness (47%), ability to attract a highly skilled workforce (42%), a positive outcome for Ireland on the Brexit negotiations (33%) and reducing the personal tax burden (29%). Over a quarter (27%) also viewed the impact of any potential tax reforms by the US Administration as important.
Speaking at the survey launch, Managing Partner at PwC Ireland, Feargal O'Rourke said, "The confidence level is down slightly on last year, but this is hardly surprising given concerns relating to Brexit and other geopolitical factors. But uncertainty also brings opportunity, and many Irish CEOs do see opportunities arising."
He added, "Not surprisingly there is a strong focus on export markets. Overall, in weighing up the opportunities and uncertainties, CEOs are slightly more cautious in their outlook with a consequent impact on the pace of investment decisions. Nevertheless they remain focused on the growth potential of their businesses."