• Fingal Chamber Publishes Business Sentiment Survey Findings

    • Staff retention and recruitment are the biggest challenges facing Fingal business.

    • Fingal’s competitiveness is at risk due to lack of skills and talent, availability of housing and transport issues.

    • Positive outlook predicted with many businesses expecting to see an increase in staff numbers, training, revenue and profits.

    Fingal Chamber has published the findings of its Business Sentiment Survey.

    The survey which focused on business challenges, competitiveness, staff recruitment and retention, flexible and remote work, local Government supports and the outlook for the region, was conducted over a two-week period last month looking at the immediate and short-term issues facing Fingal businesses.
    Of the total number of responses received from businesses in the region, 36% were from companies with 50+ employees, while 64% came from businesses ranging from one to 50 employees.

    Key findings:
    The key findings of the survey highlight that over 40% of businesses in the area said that staff retention and recruitment is their biggest challenge.  The survey also showed that the availability of skills and talent (32%) together with short supply of housing (26%) and transport issues (15%), will threaten the future competitiveness of Fingal according to local businesses.

    Shortage of housing (26%) and public transport services/traffic congestion were also highlighted as risks to Fingal’s competitiveness.

    Most of respondents (60%) indicated they had experienced an increase in staff turnover in the past year, while competitive salaries (60%) were cited as the key incentive in attracting staff. 

    “It’s not hugely surprising that staff retention and recruitment has presented as the biggest challenge facing local businesses.  As the independent voice of over 400 businesses in Fingal we have been hearing this across the board from all our members,” said Fingal Chamber CEO, Anthony Cooney.

    “The process of building back business to where it was pre-pandemic is well underway, however it is not without its significant challenges. It is hugely concerning that businesses in Fingal are telling us that competitiveness in the region is at risk because of the lack of skilled and talented labour.  Ireland has had an international reputation for having a highly skilled workforce and the deficit in this area this needs to be addressed at local as well as national level.   Fingal is renowned for its strong business leadership, inspiring innovation across a wide range of industries in the area. The region is home to some of the best multi-national companies across the world many of whom have chosen to invest in Fingal, creating thousands of jobs in the area and we all need to work collaboratively to build that back,” he added.
    Flexible/remote working:
    The survey also showed that flexible and remote working (38%) and employee benefits (35%) were significant enablers in attracting and retaining staff.  However, staff collaboration (22%) is reported to be the biggest issue in facilitating remote working with (18%) concerns for isolation of staff or mental health issues.

    “While flexible and remote working has almost become the norm in our work culture over the past two years, and it has largely been successful, there is a downside.  Our survey also highlighted that working in isolation has led to many staff struggling to reconnect with each other, and this has had a knock-on impact on fostering a positive team work culture which is hugely important for productivity levels,” said the Chamber CEO.

    Local Government support:
    Fingal businesses said they had received supports from Fingal County Council whether it was a commercial rates waiver (35%), a restart grant (19%), a small business assistance scheme for COVID (7%) or help with outdoor dining and parklet areas (7%). 

    Businesses were asked what policies or changes they thought should be adopted by Fingal County Council to help their business.  A further reduction/moratorium on rates featured high in the comments made.  Additional support for grants, funding and promotion initiatives would also be welcome.  Other respondents said that affordable housing, cheaper rents for employees and improved transport services were issues of concern for them.

    Comments received in relation to this area will be shared with the Executive Team in Fingal County Council.
    Future outlook:
    “Our survey is a great temperature check of where Fingal businesses are at and where they expect to be. It is heartening to note that most businesses in Fingal are predicting a positive outcome for the year ahead. Fingal is a great place to do business and there is huge appetite and energy in the business sphere to build on what the region has to offer; everyone in Fingal benefits when our businesses are doing well,” concluded Fingal Chamber CEO.

    Fingal Chamber Skillnet can support businesses in addressing any skills deficit they may have.   The Chamber is proud of its collaboration with Skillnet Ireland which specialises in providing technical and non-technical training across multiple sectors in the area. 

    The next Fingal Chamber Business Sentiment Survey will be conducted later this year.