Key Challenges for European Businesses in 2017 Highlighted in International Survey

Nov 30, 2016

Labour costs, the impact of Brexit and skills shortages are identified among the challenges facing Irish companies in 2017

Vast Majority of European Businesses do not identify Brexit as a Challenge. 

Domestic demand, economic policy conditions, labour costs and a lack of skilled workershave been identified as the main challenges for European companies in 2017. The results of the EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2017 (EES2017), based on responses from over 50,500 businesses across Europe, show that despite a slight drop in business confidence in 2016, most European businesses expect an upturn in their prospects for 2017.

Labour costs, the impact of Brexit and skills shortages are identified as the main challenges facing Irish business. Speaking on the results of EES 2017, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland said, “Irish businesses continue to be concerned by increasing labour costs with 43% of business citing it as their biggest challenge in 2017.”

“A lack of skilled workers and skills mismatches are highlighted as significant concerns for European business and significantly 30% of Irish business described skills as an important challenge for 2017. This suggests that many of the challenges facing businesses are common throughout Europe. However, one major area where there is divergence is around the impact of Brexit.”

“Although Brexit is identified as the second biggest challenge facing Irish business in 2017, only 9.6% of European respondents identified Brexit as a challenge at all.  While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business in 2017 due to our proximity to the UK and our close trading relationship, it’s a worry that other European businesses do not share this concern. We believe that this complacency will have implications for the approach adopted by member states to future negotiations on the UK’s exit. If European businesses do not share our view on the importance of maintaining close trade relationships with the UK, they are far less likely to support a pragmatic approach to negotiations.”

“Irish businesses are amongst the most optimistic for 2017 when compared with other European states, however this could change very rapidly if our trading performance deteriorates. For Ireland and the wider European business community, it is important that we focus on enhancing the competitiveness of our economies through investment in transport infrastructure, housing, education and skills as a priority.”

Notes to Editor:

About the European Economic Survey

The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey (EES) is an annual qualitative survey of business expectations across Europe. The survey is implemented by the network of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and co-ordinated by EUROCHAMBRES. The questionnaire focuses on five economic indicators: business confidence, domestic sales, exports, employment and investment, as well as on challenges. For EES 2017, around 50,500 businesses responded during autumn 2016.

Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Serbia and Turkey all participated in the survey.

Over 250 companies in Ireland participated in the survey.

The EES findings will be launched in Brussels on Wednesday 30th November during Invest Week 2016.

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2017 – report link

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2017 – infographic link


For further information contact Susan McDermott, Chambers Ireland on 01 400 4331, 086 6081605 or email

Chambers Ireland – Ireland’s largest business network creating the best environment for members locally, regionally and nationally.

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