Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon commissioned Millward Brown to conduct a survey to study the business and HR sentiment in the Midlands region. Launched this week, the results from across seven Midland counties (Offaly, Laois, Westmeath, Tipperary North, Kildare, Meath, and Carlow ) provide an insight into how business owners are feeling now and their expectations for the future. The report also identifies the triggers and barriers to growth and compares the Midlands region with other parts of the country.
Commenting on the improved business sentiment, Suzanne O’Neill, partner, Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon states “Privately owned businesses are core to our continued economic recovery. This survey provides a good insight into how business owners are feeling with 93 per cent of business owners feeling their business is stable or better than last year and 91 per cent anticipating improvements in 2015. This improvement in sentiment both in terms of progress already made and more importantly looking towards the future is attributed to an increase in consumer confidence.”
While there is a positive outlook for future growth, key barriers to growth remain. “Some 75 per cent of Midland businesses believe their current economic situations will improve over the next twelve months, however 25 per cent believe more Government aid/ IDA support is needed to grow business in the region; unsurprisingly funding from banks was an ongoing issue. Some 79 per cent of respondents believe the Midlands region has suffered disproportionately during the recession compared to the greater Dublin region. There was a very strong consensus (72 per cent ) that the Government are not doing enough for businesses in the Midlands,” continued Suzanne.
In addition to business sentiment, the survey also considered in detail how businesses in the Midlands feel about human resources. Catherine Corcoran, HR consulting partner with Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon reveals “We found that one in two companies surveyed expect to recruit additional staff in the next 12 months, which is great news following a period of stagnation. Interestingly, 49 per cent of businesses surveyed have voiced difficulty in recruiting the right people for key positions with 42 per cent agreeing that there is a skill shortage in their business category.”
There is an acknowledgement amongst business owners that their staff have been flexible during periods of difficulty and they have responded well to change when necessary. “The vast majority of companies introduced HR changes to manage the recession and 80 per cent agree that their staff responded well to any new measures introduced to save the business. Some 86 per cent of business owners believe that their company values their staff and employers have the utmost faith in their staff to run the business in their absence. This being said they are slightly more reticent as to whether they reward them accordingly. Many companies have had to make cutbacks to staff remuneration in current years with employers choosing to cut back on overtime opportunities and basic salaries/wages. Now that the tide is turning employees expect their staff to seek pay back with 54 per cent believing their staff will ask for pay rises in the next 12 months.”
Overall business and HR sentiment is generally positive within the Midlands region, both in terms of progress already made and more importantly looking towards the future. The full copy of the survey findings “Business and HR sentiment among businesses in the Midlands region,” is available to download from www.bakertillyrg.ie