Nearly six out of ten (57%) Irish CEOs are positive about the growth prospects for Ireland’s economy in the year ahead. This is according to the latest Irish CEO survey carried out by PwC.
The survey was carried out in Autumn 2018 amongst leading CEOs having 235 responses in Ireland (across all industry sectors) and 1,378 globally in 91 countries.
The study finds that 84% of Irish CEOs are confident about their organisations revenue growth in the year ahead and 35% expect 'strong growth.' Sixty three percent of Irish CEOs plan to expand the workforce and is at an all-time high in the history of the survey.
Many of the CEOs believe key growth drivers are areas under their control such as organic growth (70%), launch of new products/services (58%) and operational efficiencies (54%).
According to the survey, top challenges are skills (84% and an all-time high in the history of the survey), cyber threats (79%), geopolitical uncertainties including Brexit (76%), uncertain economic growth (67%), increasing tax burdens (67%) and the future of the Eurozone (66%). Irish CEOs are much more concerned about real estate costs and basic infrastructure compared to global CEOs.
The survey also finds that Irish CEOs are struggling with the data they receive for key business decision making. On average, just 19% say the data they receive is adequate (Global: 23%). There is a huge gap between the data they consider important and the comprehensiveness of the data they receive for a range of critical business disciplines.
Furthermore, Ireland lags global counterparts on many aspects of AI: 64% agree that AI will significantly change the way they do business in the next 5 years (Global: 85%); 46% of Irish CEOs say that AI will have a greater impact on the world than the internet revolution (Global: 62%).
Speaking at the survey launch, Managing Partner at PwC Ireland, Feargal O’Rourke said, "The survey highlights that the skills challenge is at an all-time high in the history of the survey. Having a pipeline of relevant skills for a digital world is one of the greatest priorities for businesses. Businesses also need to think beyond today to fully grasp the opportunities that emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can deliver."
He added, "Clearly, as reflected in the high concerns about geopolitical risks, Brexit is a key disruptor. With the on-going developments in the UK, businesses still lack clarity on Brexit and the risk of a disorderly exit on 29 March has increased. Irish businesses need to intensify their no-deal contingency planning."