The housing crisis and Brexit are the top concerns among Irish businesses, according to BDO.
The accountancy firm surveyed 350 Irish firms for its latest quarterly Optimism Index. Around 30% of respondents said investment in the housing supply is the most important for the government to focus on.
Brexit featured as a big concern for 27% of respondents, followed by concerns regarding education investment and transport infrastructure.
“Housing costs are putting pressure on Irish businesses,” said Michael Costello (pictured), managing partner in BDO Ireland. “It affects the ability to attract and retain quality staff, puts upward pressure on wages and contributes to competitive pressures on businesses.
“If businesses are to continue to grow, affordable accommodation for Ireland’s workforce needs to be provided. The fact that it is referred to more often than Brexit may be because the outcome of Brexit remains so uncertain and businesses are waiting for concrete actions to emerge from the negotiations.”
The BDO research showed 41% of Dublin-based businesses listed the housing supply as the area most in need of government action.
Compared with the same period last year, BDO’s Q2 optimism index is up slightly from 65.9 66.4. Businesses based in Dublin are the most optimistic at 69.6, compared with regional businesses at 64.9.
The optimism index also found that businesses recording higher levels of activity has dropped to its lowest since 2014, from 45% to 39% in 2018. This slowing in the growth of business activity is being driven primarily by microbusinesses, the accountancy firm explained.
Other findings indicate 78% of businesses are reporting employment levels remained the same as last year’s quarter, while among medium to large-sized businesses, 43% increased their workforce compared to this quarter last year.
The number of businesses recording a higher operational profit is down by 2% (to 30%) compared with Q2 2017. However, the projected business activity in the next quarter is strong, with 46% of businesses projecting increased activity.