Entrepreneurs say they are stymied by skill shortages

23 Nov 201557 Shares

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Difficulties with recruitment are directly contributing to the issue of scaling, EY study reveals

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Almost a third of Irish entrepreneurs cited a shortage of skilled labour as a key obstacle to growth in a new EY study.

Following the recent Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition in which Stripe founders Patrick and John Collison were named winners, EY’s study of its 416-strong Irish EOY community found that 30pc cited a shortage of experienced talent as their number one challenge.

More than half of the community – including previous finalists and winners – cited skills shortages among their top two priorities.

64pc of respondents believe that Ireland is not doing enough to support entrepreneurs whose businesses are struggling or have failed.

‘We need to continue to make Ireland an attractive location for not just retaining the talent, but through targeted initiatives to attract expatriates and returning emigrants’
– KEVIN MCLOUGHLIN, EY

High taxes, particularly personal income tax and capital gains tax, emerged from the survey as some of the biggest inhibitors to doing business in Ireland.

This applies across a range of sectors, including tech, manufacturing, food and drink, retail, telecommunications and hospitality.

Entrepreneurs’ headcounts are rising

This increased demand for skilled labour is evidenced by the results, which showed that 84pc of respondents had grown their total headcount in the past year.

The EOY community experienced strong growth in 2015, with 67pc of those surveyed stating that their business had grown by over 5pc in the past year. In the last 12 months alone, this network of leading entrepreneurs have created more than 17,800 new jobs, and currently employ 170,144 individuals – driving real economic growth.  Collectively they have generated €17.4bn in revenue for the same period.

“Difficulties with recruitment are directly contributing to the issue of scaling – which was cited by 22pc of entrepreneurs as their key challenge. Irish entrepreneurs are struggling to compete with large multinationals that can offer higher salaries and fringe benefits in the race for top talent. Interestingly, only 6pc rank graduate recruitment as their biggest challenge, favouring a more skilled workforce,” said Kevin McLoughlin, head of tax at EY Ireland.

“We need to continue to make Ireland an attractive location for not just retaining the talent, but through targeted initiatives to attract expatriates and returning emigrants.”

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com