Nearly two-thirds of Irish owner-managers believe that the business environment is improving, up from 50% one year ago and 61% in May 2017. That’s according to the Small Firms Association (SFA), the Ibec group, in its ‘Small Firms Outlook 2018’ survey report, published today.
Seventy one percent of survey respondents indicated their intention to recruit over the coming year, up substantially from the SFA survey in May 2017. Small firms already employ half of the private sector workforce and nearly three-quarters of SFA members will be hiring in 2018.
Furthermore, nearly 60% of SFA members say their businesses are growing, with only 4% declining. The SFA say 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 report also highlights a number of risk factors for 2018 such as wage inflation, the ability to attract talent, legislative and regulatory burdens, increasing business costs as well as Brexit/Sterling exchange rate.
Speaking this week, SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens said, "Full tax equalisation between the self-employed and employees will remain a priority in 2018, as will access to public contracts for small firms and cost competitiveness. In recent decades, Government has been successful in attracting FDI. However, the focus must now shift to small businesses and it is time to create a strategy for growth for small businesses with special focus on tax competitiveness and the cost of doing business, especially in light of Brexit."
He added, "The fundamentals of the Irish economy are strong and economic growth and job creation are forecast to continue in 2018. If the specific concerns of small businesses are addressed, 2018 will be a very positive year for the sector."