Irish CEO confidence high with job creation on the horizon

KPMG report shows the country's chief executives believe the future is bright for growth and employment, despite challenges...

Irish CEOs are overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of their sector, with the number of executives planning to significantly increase their workforce climbing.

The findings are outlined in KPMG's Irish CEO Outlook 2017 report, which looked at top level sentiment about the local and global economy.


Some 93% of CEOs are confident about their industry’s prospects for growth in the next 12 months. A further 84% foresee the Irish economy expanding. This outstrips the confidence in the world at large: 73% expect the global economy to grow over the next year.

When it comes to Irish employment, headcounts are still growing and more executives anticipate major recruitment. 

In 2016, a third of Irish CEOs expected headcount to grow by more than 6% in the next 3 years. In 2017, 43% expect this level of growth.

The study also found that 60% of CEOs believe global uncertainty around the likes of Brexit is having a greater impact on their business than previously seen.

KPMG managing partner Shaun Murphy said of the findings:

"The degree of optimism is understandable – many businesses are doing well and most of the economies
Ireland trades with are in reasonable shape."

However, he sounded a note of caution as the potential impact of some developments has yet to be felt, adding:

“Brexit and perhaps to a lesser extent the threat of protectionism and US tax policies are all potential game changers for Irish CEOs and the businesses they lead.”

Technology, disruption and evolution

Some 37% of the CEOs in the study think that attracting new talent will be the biggest technology challenge facing their companies in the coming years.

However, Irish CEOs trump their global colleagues when it comes to their bullishness in tackling the ever-changing business landscape. 

Nine in 10 said they see disruption as an opportunity, with 96% saying their business is aiming to be the disruptor in their sector. This compared to three in four (74%) of CEOs surveyed worldwide.


When it comes to the evolution of their own roles, 93% of Irish CEOs say they are more open to new influences than at
any other point in their career. The same number have completed training or a new qualification in the past 12 months.

Despite recent cyber security scares, there is a perception of improved cyber resilience. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) believe they are fully prepared for a cyber event – up dramatically from 24% last year.