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Two-thirds of small firms will recruit in 2016

Thursday, 7th January, 2016 1:00am

There is a strong positive sentiment among small firms for 2016 and two-thirds of small firms will recruit in 2016, according to the Small Firms Association’s (SFA) outlook report for 2016.

The small business community is optimistic about 2016, according to the Small Firms Outlook 2016 survey report, published this week.

77 per cent of owner-managers feel that the business environment is improving, with just four per cent indicating that it is disimproving. Patricia Callan, SFA Director, said: “2015 was a significant year in terms of the broadening and deepening of the economic recovery. Small firms that survived the crisis are now looking to grow and develop their businesses, to attract talent and export their products.”

Asked what they see as the biggest opportunity for their business in 2016, domestic economic growth was highlighted by over 40 per cent of businesses. Other positive factors identified were specific sectoral opportunities (14 per cent), exporting (12 per cent) and bringing new products to market (10 per cent).

Over 65 per cent of survey respondents indicated their intention to recruit over the coming year, up slightly since the last survey in June.

This was welcomed by Ms Callan. “Small firms already employ over half of the private sector workforce and almost two-thirds of our members will be hiring in 2016. Small firms have a crucial role to play in job creation around the country, reducing unemployment and attracting emigrants home to work. We expect small firms to create 30,000 jobs in 2016.”

The survey was conducted between 30 November and 14 December and results are based on 793 responses from a sample of 3,000 SFA members. The survey results, however, sound warning signals on a number of fronts, she said. “A number of risk factors for 2016 have been highlighted by small businesses.

“These include cashflow issues (18 per cent), rising business costs (15 per cent), economic instability (14 per cent), wage inflation (13 per cent) and legislative/regulatory burden (13 per cent). These must be monitored closely to ensure that economic recovery does not lead to a loss of competitiveness, which will be ultimately damaging to medium to long-term sustainable economic growth and job creation.

“Tax equalisation between the self-employed and employees will remain a priority in 2016, as will access to public contracts for small firms and the cost of bank finance. Investment in housing and broadband must be prioritised to ensure that Ireland remains a location for investment and talent.”

“With a General Election due, every party must recognise the important role of small business in job creation, enhancing local communities and driving economic progress,” said Ms Callan.

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