Key Challenges for European Businesses in 2017 Highlighted in International Survey

Labour costs, the impact of Brexit and skills shortages are identified among the challenges facing Irish companies in 2017

Vast Majority of European Businesses do not identify Brexit as a Challenge.

Domestic demand, economic policy conditions, labour costs and a lack of skilled workers have been identified as the main challenges for European companies in 2017. The results of the EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2017 (EES2017), based on responses from over 50,500 businesses across Europe, show that despite a slight drop in business confidence in 2016, most European businesses expect an upturn in their prospects for 2017.

Labour costs, the impact of Brexit and skills shortages are identified as the main challenges facing Irish business. Speaking on the results of EES 2017, Madeleine Quirke, CEO Wexford Chamber,  said, “Irish businesses continue to be concerned by increasing labour costs with 43% of business citing it as their biggest challenge in 2017.”

“A lack of skilled workers and skills mismatches are highlighted as significant concerns for European business and significantly 30% of Irish business described skills as an important challenge for 2017. This suggests that many of the challenges facing businesses are common throughout Europe.”

“Although Brexit is identified as the second biggest challenge facing Irish business in 2017, only 9.6% of European respondents identified Brexit as a challenge at all.  While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business in 2017 due to our proximity to the UK and our close trading relationship, it’s a worry that other European businesses do not share this concern. We believe that this complacency will have implications for the approach adopted by member states to future negotiations on the UK’s exit. If European businesses do not share our view on the importance of maintaining close trade relationships with the UK, they are far less likely to support a pragmatic approach to negotiations.”

“Irish businesses are amongst the most optimistic for 2017 when compared with other European states.  It is important that we focus on enhancing the competitiveness of our economies through investment in transport infrastructure, housing, education and skills as a priority.