The cost of living and the price of housing are the key issues facing the economy and people's personal finances, according to a survey by Permanent TSB (PTSB).
PTSB published the latest edition of its Reflecting Ireland research series on Friday. The series polls public attitudes each quarter and includes recurring questions about how people see their personal financial situation and their views on the outlook for the economy.
The survey found there has been a significant rise in levels of optimism amongst Irish adults. Six in 10 people described themselves as being “upbeat” compared to just 50 per cent who used that term in the November’s survey.
A third of people said they believed they would be better off this time next year, up slightly from 28 per cent. That view was higher amongst younger people as 59 per cent of those aged 18-24 agreed with the statement, along with 53 per cent of those aged 25-34.
Almost 40 per cent said that they saw “green shoots” emerging in the economy. That compares to 32 per cent who felt that way in November. The number expressing concern on this issue was the lowest since 2018.
Just over half said that they felt the country was moving “in the right direction”. That was the highest figure making that statement since 2018. The view that the country is going “in the wrong direction” was shared by just 33 per cent – down from 42 per cent in November.
On which issues are of concern, the list was led by the cost of living (62 per cent); price of housing (47 per cent); access to quality healthcare (46 per cent); homelessness (40 per cent); and rising rents (35 per cent).
Reflecting the reopening of the economy in recent weeks, Covid-19 was identified by just 23 per cent as being an issue of top concern.
The survey showed a major divergence between men and women in perceptions of equality in the workplace.
Some 72 per cent of women said they have to work harder than men to get the same level of career progression, but only 46 per cent of men agreed. Almost three quarters of women said the gender pay gap is yet to be resolved, but only 49 per cent of men agreed.
Half of women want gender quotas for senior management roles but only 33 per cent of men said this was desirable. One in four men said gender equality was already well developed in Ireland – a view shared by only 15 per cent of women.
On advertising and body image, just 36 per cent of women said women are portrayed positively in advertising, compared to 49 per cent of men.
Three quarters of women believed women get a raw deal on body image in society generally whereas just 46 per cent of men agreed this was the case.