The first economic trends survey of 2020 captures the sentiment of the Cork business community at a time of unprecedented uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic shock. The survey which reports on member experiences during January, February and March asked the thoughts of the business community on their experience of Q1 and the outlook for Q2 2020 on business confidence, the overall operating landscape, skills, threats and opportunities. Of note the data was collected over a two-week period when the pandemic moved swiftly from a concern to a high level threat. The survey also explored the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace where we asked the business community their approach in this area.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Previously we had asked members about their organisational experiences of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and their own professional perspectives on the broader perceptions and challenges in this space. These questions had been asked originally in the first quarter of 2018. We have now asked these questions again, 2 years later. While it is still clear that persistent challenges remain, there has been a marked increase in business activity, policies and supports.


diversity and inclusion trends


“From 2018 to 2020, the greatest increase in policy provision has been to facilitate working from home, employee assistance programmes and health and wellbeing programmes for employees. While challenges remain, it is positive to report the increased focus on this area in businesses, and the increase in activity, policies and supports which are key to ensuring diverse and inclusive workplaces.” Paula Cogan, President Cork Chamber



More women at the leadership table and men pushing for this…


Limited but increased over COVID19.

– reference to remote working

diversity and inclusion trends

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE

CONFIDENT
0%

NOT CONFIDENT
0%

TURNOVER AND NET PROFIT ESTIMATIONS



Added to this the survey shows that 11% of businesses expect an increase to turnover over the coming quarter 2, with 71% expecting a decrease to turnover over the same period.

In relation to net profit, 9% of responding business expect an increase, while 75% expect a decrease.

For context, in Q1 2019, 80% of businesses expected an increase in turnover, while 67% expected an increase to net profit (note: in Q1 2019 the question asked to forecast for the 12-month period ahead).


Reduce/ eliminate Vat for the services. Reduce rate charges, provide rate and tax break when business can resume

Anne Marie McIlwraith,
Just For Men, Manscaping Lounge

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK



For context, the same quarter in 2019 reported 4% of businesses expecting a decrease to employee numbers over the 12 months ahead, while 43% had expected numbers to stay the same, and 53% had expected employee numbers to increase.



The latest quarter reports 24% of businesses as having open vacancies. In the previous quarter this had been at 39%, while for context 51% of businesses had open vacancies for the same quarter in 2019.


CONFIDENCE IN THE IRISH ECONOMY



TOP 3 THREATS TO BUSINESS GROWTH


  • 1 COVID-19

  • 2 Managing Cashflow

  • 2 Changing consumer spending/ reduced orders


Since 2018 we have consistently reported Brexit as the number one threat to business as reported from business members. Our latest survey however is dominated by Covid-19 as the number one threat. This is followed by managing cashflow and changing consumer spending/ reduced orders.

Empowering You
Growing your Business
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