CEOs more confident in Irish economy

Chief executives more confident in own businesses compared to 2013, finds report

A quarter of CEOs say their businesses are worse off than they were before the financial crisis. Photograph: Thinkstock

A quarter of CEOs say their businesses are worse off than they were before the financial crisis. Photograph: Thinkstock


Chief executives are more confident in the Irish economy and in their own businesses compared to last year, according to a survey by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Some 86 per cent of chief executives in Ireland are positive about the outlook for economy, up from 31 per cent last year. More chief executives are now confident about the economy than they were in 2007, when Ireland was on the brink of recession, the PwC survey of 256 chief executives found.

Although a quarter said their businesses were worse off than they were before the financial crisis, more than half suggested that their companies were in better financial health now.

“The survey shows that the pendulum has swung with levels of confidence across many areas of business now higher than 2007 and pre-recessionary times,” said PwC senior partner Ronan Murphy.

More than three-quarters said they were optimistic about the future prospects for their own businesses, with this figure up from 44 per cent last year.

Some 77 per cent said they expected growth in revenues, while 69 per cent were looking forward to higher profits.

The PwC survey also found that almost nine out of 10 chief executives of multinational firms based in Ireland plan to increase or maintain their investment in Ireland.

Some 92 per cent of multinational CEOs also said they considered their company’s investment in Ireland to be a success.

Overall, more than half of the chief executives questioned said they planned to increase the size of their workforce, up from 34 per cent last year. However, one in 10 are still seeking reductions in the headcount at their firms.

Three in 10 of the surveyed chief executives, who were drawn from a range of sectors, indicated that finance is more readily available now compared to a year ago.

One in 10 reported plans to restructure existing borrowings in the year ahead, with a similar proportion planning new borrowings and 62 per cent not envisaging any change to their capital structure.

“The survey shows that the search for growth is on the increase as the economy gradually rebalances itself,” said PwC’s Paul Tuite.

“How we capitalise on changing global trends and the opportunities brought about by digital technologies will be critical for our long-term success,” he said.