Findings of the survey will be presented at this year's CEO Forum, the theme of which is "Leadership for Growth". The event will see over 300 of the country's leading CEOs listen to key note addresses from Tommy Breen, CEO, DCC plc, Ciaran Murray, CEO, ICON plc, & Domhnal Slattery, CEO, Avolon, as well as other speakers and panellists including Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD who will address the conference on the impact of the Action Plan for Jobs.
Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland explained, "The survey results aren't a major surprise to us in Enterprise Ireland. The skills issue is one that is constantly raised by our clients as a key constraint. In response, we have been helping Irish companies develop leadership capability, both of the CEOs and of their wider teams. Continuing to win the 'war for talent' is a key determinant of success in international markets."
12 months ago Irish CEOs cited "access to working capital" as the primary restriction to greater exports, with 35% indicating that this was the primary challenge facing their business. However, this figure has dropped to 19% in 2015 and "the availability of skills" has surpassed access to capital as the number one concern according to 31% of respondents. Competitiveness and growing competition are now also seen as key challenges.
The CEO Forum survey findings also revealed that 74% of business leaders believe the Central Bank or Irish Government should not intervene to slow Ireland's strong economic growth rate, with Ireland currently expected to be the fastest growing economy in the European Union according to the European Commission's autumn economic forecast.
Brendan Jennings, Managing Partner, Deloitte commented "Our business leaders are both optimistic of the country's strong potential for economic growth and of the ability of their firm to match or exceed that level - two-thirds (66%) of the business leaders questioned believe that their business will grow even faster than the Irish economy in the next 12 months.
A staggering 93% of companies intend to expand their businesses over the next year which will almost certainly translate into jobs as 87% are also planning on increasing their workforce. All of which bodes well for the economy."
Irish CEOs place value on Honesty
The CEO Forum survey also revealed that Irish CEOs rank "honesty" as the number one most important trait for business leaders. "Honesty" is followed by "a strong work ethic", "self-confidence" and "loyalty" as the most important traits.
Harnessing ideas and innovation from employees is a proven practice in almost every successful company, and it was very positive to see that 97% of Irish CEOs surveyed said that they either had a formal or informal process in place to capitalise on employees' ideas or intended on introducing one in the near future.
And while Irish graduates have put huge effort into boosting their academic skills, when looking for new employees, the survey showed that CEOs put "communication skills" ahead of all other attributes including technical skills and creativity. This potentially reflects a deficit they are experiencing in the current crop of graduates. CEOs were also asked about time management and research skills, but placed less emphasis on these areas.
Note to the Editor
About the Survey
Three quarters (77%) of survey participants were CEOs of SME businesses (with less than 250 employees) with the balance being made up of larger company CEOs.
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.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/ie/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.
Deloitte has almost 2,000 people in Ireland providing 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.