A recent survey conducted by Limerick Chamber, the largest business representative group in the Mid-West, has highlighted the challenges faced by businesses in retaining staff due to the ongoing housing crisis. The survey, which gauged economic sentiment locally, found that the availability of housing or rental accommodation was ranked as the main barrier to filling job vacancies by the majority of respondents. This concern was closely followed by the availability of childcare and the expectation of candidates to be able to work remotely.
Despite these difficulties, the survey also indicated that 59% of executives have expanded their workforce since the beginning of the year, with 48% of respondents stating their intention to continue hiring. The results further revealed that fresh investment is expected in the region, with 87% of participants considering it feasible to self-fund the investment in their business.
Interestingly, the survey highlighted a shift in the way businesses operate, with 59% of companies adopting a hybrid model where staff alternate between working from home and working in the office. Additionally, the cost of living crisis and the supply and affordability of housing emerged as the top concerns among respondents.
Sean Golden, the chief economist and director of policy at Limerick Chamber, emphasized that despite the challenges posed by increased costs, the business environment remains positive. Many businesses have focused on upskilling their existing staff to address skill shortages, while outsourcing work has been another popular option. Golden also underscored the importance of keeping outsourcing within the Mid-West region.
Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan expressed concern over the housing barrier hindering business expansion and investment, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing home ownership. Ryan welcomed the rise of cost-rental accommodation, which provides homes to individuals below the average market rate, but also stressed the need for mixed tenure developments to provide housing security for workers in retirement.
Sources: Limerick Chamber