Katy Carolan Of MERC Partners On National Business Performance

A NEW REPORT highlights the strengths and weaknesses in NATIONAL BUSINESS PERFORMANCE …

The-Gloss-Magazine-Look-The-Business-Katy-Carolan

The annual Executive Expectations report, conducted by Merc Partners, and compiled by Amárach Research is designed to find out what firms see as the positive elements in Irish business performance and to illustrate the more challenging components. This year’s report once again highlights national strengths, acknowledging challenges that remain and identifying others associated with economic recovery. It notes that national expectations remain strong, but there are some headwinds.

Respondents believe that employment growth will continue and that their organisations will employ more people in 2017; this augurs well for the future. However, the unwelcome reality of Brexit emerged as a huge concern and risk, with the policies of the new administration in the USA not far behind.

Firms also face a battle to recruit, retain and reward talent and require a constantly evolving skills mix. There is also the challenge of an employee base concerned about housing, the increasing cost of living and high personal taxation.

From the employee perspective, confidence is reflected in a belief that their career prospects continue to improve, in their openness to switching roles and their flexibility and willingness to undertake interim executive appointments. The representation of women at a senior level has increased, and organisations have adopted proactive policies to underpin their support for a more diverse leadership team. In some sectors, a target of 30 per cent female representation at senior levels of organisations has been set. Last year, 45 per cent of those surveyed reported this target was met or exceeded. This year, the comparable finding was 52 per cent, with the number of organisations where there is less than 30 per cent female representation at senior level dropping substantially from 46 per cent to 30 per cent.

To the best of respondents’ knowledge, 32 per cent worked in an organisation which has a specific initiative in place which aims to improve female representation at a senior level – this represents a seven per cent increase on last year’s survey and twelve per cent on the 2015 findings. There was a particularly strong growth in the number of organisations with diversity policies, up to 74 per cent from 63 per cent last year. As actual representation increases, which we have seen this year, the specific initiatives may change over time to focus on what works best for individual organisations.

Katy Carolan is a consultant at MERC Partners.

This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our next issue out Thursday June 1.

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