Almost half of multinationals in Ireland are expecting to increase their staff numbers in the next 12 months, according to a new survey conducted by the Irish Management Institute and NIB.
Only 13 per cent of the firms surveyed expect to lower their employment numbers during the same period.
The IMI said the figures show a “significant improvement” on last year when there was an equal number of companies planning to contract as expand.
The research also showed that the strategic importance of Irish operations to their parent companies is “very high” in 62 per cent of cases.
More strategically important operations tend to provide better quality, more highly-paid employment, explained the IMI.
The importance of Irish subsidiaries was also reflected in the high number (60 per cent) of firms who managed international staff from their Irish base.
However, the survey was not all positive. There are still some lingering competitive problems, most specifically in the area of labour costs.
A notable 70 per cent of respondents said that Irish labour costs were more expensive than comparable locations. This remains a worry for multinationals.
The greatest competitive threat faced by Irish offices of multinationals comes from other subsidiaries – and not from outside forces.
The survey identified the UK as Ireland’s most threatening competitor, while China, US and India were also mentioned.
Reputation remains a key factor for attracting and keeping investment within Ireland.
According to the research, 40 per cent of respondents felt that Ireland’s reputation was unchanged over the past year, despite the country taking a bailout from the IMF/EU.
The questions for the survey were answered by 110 chief executives and senior managers at multinational companies.