Increasing tax burdens and over-regulation continue to pose an obstacle toward expansion, according to business leaders, with uncertainty about economic conditions the top external threat for growth.
Some 86 per cent of Irish chief executives said the top business threat is the increasing tax burden, specifically on employees, and this is a much greater concern than for their European counterparts, where 59 per cent see tax burdens as the top threat.
More than 90 per cent of chief executives said uncertain economic conditions were the top external threat, while 80 per cent said over-regulation was also a concern, compared to 59 per cent among their European peers.
However, confidence in the Irish economy is on the increase and is at its highest level since 2007.
The survey of 225 chief executives, conducted by professional services firm PwC, found 31 per cent are optimistic about the outlook for Ireland’s economy compared to just under a quarter (22 per cent) last year.
On a similar note, almost half (44 per cent) are positive about the outlook for their own businesses with many expecting revenue and profit growth this year.
The survey found CEOs are investing, with 74 per cent planning to increase investment in technology and 56 per cent intending to invest in innovation.
The survey also highlighted Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for foreign direct investment, with 84 per cent of multinational CEOs with operations in Ireland reporting they are increasing or holding their investment here, up from 72 per cent in 2011.
The CEOs cited the 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate and improved cost competitiveness as the top two factors for maintaining and increasing investment.