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18 May 2022

New Kildare survey shows that 88 per cent of businesses are concerned about the Ukraine crisis

New Kildare survey shows that 88 per cent of businesses are concerned about the Ukraine crisis

The survey also noted challenges arising from remote and flexible working as well as the possible impacts and effects of the current crisis situation in Ukraine. PICTURE: File Photo

A new survey shows that 88 per cent of businesses are either concerned or extremely concerned with the effects of the Ukraine crisis on their operations and profitability.

The biannual County Kildare Chamber (CKC) Membership Pulse Survey examined 207 businesses employing 28,000 employees over a period of two weeks, from the March 28 to April 8, 2022.

Of the total responses received, 23 per cent where from businesses with 50 plus employees, while 77 per cent came from businesses with staff ranging from one to 50 employees.

Furthermore, over 60 per cent of the responses came from the Life Science and Manufacturing area, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure, Retail, Education and Training and the service industry.

The survey also noted challenges arising from remote and flexible working as well as the possible impacts and effects of the current crisis situation in Ukraine.

It also showed that specifically reducing costs are also a big challenge facing businesses, with 23 per cent of firms concerned about this with current rising inflation due to the ongoing as a result of the Russian invasion.

In addition, the survey found that 40 per cent of businesses are worried about the provision of housing for their employees, while 15 per cent cite public transport not being adequate enough to serve the population.

The CKC explained: "There is still a substantial hangover from the Covid 19 pandemic along with ongoing effects of Brexit creating several very challenging years for businesses.

"With Covid-19 having fundamentally changed the rules around employment 51 per cent of businesses said staff retention & recruitment is the biggest challenge facing them.

"We are living through the age of the Great Resignation: according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the months of April to June 2021 saw 11.5 million employees quit their jobs, and this trend is being replicated around the world including in Kildare.

The group also said that businesses are still trying to grapple with this, by introducing a number of measures.

These include flexible working, revised benefits, mental health resources, access to training and development, improved communication and diversity policies.

The CKC elaborated that when it came to staff recruitment and retention almost 60 per cent of businesses stated staff turnover had been an issue within the last year, while 50 per cent of businesses stating competitive salary was a key incentive in attracting new employees.

Positive work culture as a tool for recruiting and retaining staff also scored  along with flexible and remote working.

A SILVER LINING

Fortunately, it wasn’t all pessimism: despite ongoing fears showed the majority of Kildare businesses are optimistic about their outlook with 57 per cent hoping to increase staffing levels, 60 per cent forecasting an increase in revenue and 45 per cent anticipating an increase in profits perhaps showing an increasing resilience and ability to cope with economic adversity.

Chamber CEO Allan Shine said: "Kildare has shown itself to be one of the key engine rooms of the Irish economy as in the last two months alone Intel has announced 1,600 jobs with a further €12 billion being invested in their Leixlip plant up to the end of 2023.

"In the last week, the Kildare Innovation Campus announced 140 new jobs — 40 with Nikon Precision Europe and 100 with MGS Manufacturing LTD who themselves are also investing €7 million in a 20,000ft extension to the plant on campus.

County Kildare Chamber CEO Allan Shine. PICTURE: File Photo

"However to note a sound of caution regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine with the resultant rampant inflation which will affect competitiveness on our island we need Government to act smartly and look at various tax incentives and grant funding for business.

Mr Shine concluded: "This in particular would centre around offsetting energy costs for businesses and the immediate expansion of work permits to enable businesses to recruit in countries outside of Europe; to offset the huge skill shortages our members are facing at present across all sectors of industry."

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