CEO Survey: Overseas Markets Far More Important than Local Economy

CEOs Predict Recovery, But Not Until 2014

Widespread support for Maths bonus points with 4 in 5 believing it should be extended to Science Subjects

Ireland’s reliance on domestic demand should be a thing of the past. This was signalled by the results of a new survey by Enterprise Ireland and Deloitte which found that almost three quarters (72%) of Irish CEOs see overseas markets as far more significant to Ireland’s economic recovery than the local economy, believing that greater participation in these markets will speed up the process. The survey was carried out on 365 CEOs registered to attend today’s CeoForum in the Convention Centre Dublin, hosted by Enterprise Ireland and Deloitte. The survey investigates a number of areas which are relevant to the theme of this year’s forum - “Growth is on the Horizon”.

Pictured are at the CEO Forum Launch (l-r): Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland, Brendan Jennings Managing Partner, Deloitte and keynote speakers Louise Phelan, Vice President, PayPal and Fidelma McGuirk, Managing Director, Taxback.com
Pictured are at the CEO Forum Launch (l-r): Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland, Brendan Jennings Managing Partner, Deloitte and keynote speakers Louise Phelan, Vice President, PayPal and Fidelma McGuirk, Managing Director, Taxback.com.

The survey, which will be discussed at the forum, also identified that only 21% of business leaders believe that Ireland will return to consistent strong GDP growth in 2013, while two thirds (67%) envisage that scenario during 2014.

According to Brendan Jennings, Managing Partner, Deloitte, “There is a growing realisation within Irish businesses that even relatively small firms need to be more focused on the opportunities abroad and less on the traditional home market”.

Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland added, “The record export sales achieved by Irish companies in recent years clearly show that investing in internationalisation delivers for Irish companies.  We continue to support existing Irish exporters in securing overseas business but, knowing the opportunity that’s out there, we are also ramping up our efforts with more potential exporters to help them realise the opportunities that exist for them beyond domestic market.”

All registering CEOs were asked to partake in the survey before the event to gauge their perception of various business climate issues and key supports provided by Government. When asked about the maths and technology education in this country and moves by the Government to improve and support it, the vast majority of respondents (92%) highlighted that they support the Government’s stance on trying to promote greater participation in honours Leaving Cert maths. When participants were subsequently asked whether the Government’s endeavours should be extended to science subjects, 4 out of 5 business leaders (84%) said that they were in favour of extending the bonus points concept to boost participation in these subjects.

The Project Maths module was first rolled out by the Government in September 2010 and since then it, and additional bonus CAO points, have had a positive effect on the numbers sitting higher level maths. Project Maths has shown promising results with more students opting to take the higher level maths exam and increased student engagement with the subject. The CEO Forum survey has revealed that business leaders in this country agree on a greater focus on what they see as job creating subjects – maths and the sciences.

The survey also signalled some dissatisfaction amongst this group in relation to Ireland’s investment in science, technology and innovation with 77% of respondents saying there is not enough investment in this area, indicating that there was more that could be done.

The theme of this year’s event is “Growth is on the Horizon” and boasts an impressive line-up of speakers; Louise Phelan, Vice President, Global Operations EMEA, PayPal, Fidelma McGuirk, Managing Director,Taxback.com, Chris Martin, Chief Executive, Musgraves and Colm McCarthy, Lecturer in Economics at UCD.

Purpose of the CEO Forum

The primary focus of the CEO Forum is to create an opportunity for chief executives to discuss what they perceive to be the major issues facing their companies and Irish businesses. The forum provides a unique opportunity for CEOs to share information, air their views and hear, first-hand, the experiences of some of Ireland’s leading CEOs, who talk about their businesses and the challenges they face both nationally and internationally.

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the indigenous business sector. The mission of Enterprise Ireland is to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to achieve strong positions in global markets, resulting in increased national and regional prosperity.

Full details of Enterprise Ireland support and activities can be found on its website www.enterprise-ireland.com.

About Deloitte

Deloitte’s 1,200 people in Dublin, Cork and Limerick provide audit, tax, consulting, and corporate finance services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.

Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.