Plenty to gain from the international perspective

Plenty to gain from the international perspective

Shaun Murphy: "Ireland's continued success in attracting inward investment is determined by many things, not least by the attitudes of global business leaders and the choices they make,"  

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A new international survey carried out by KPMG has provided some valuable insights into the attitudes to investment and growth of the chief executives of many of the world’s largest businesses.  

"Ireland's continued success in attracting inward investment is determined by many things, not least by the attitudes of global business leaders and the choices they make," says KPMG Ireland managing partner Shaun Murphy. "It's hugely relevant to Ireland to understand the perspectives of those at the top in multinational companies. They are making strategic choices now about future investment locations and the factors that will influence them in making those decisions."   The survey examined the views of more than 1,200 chief executives based in 10 countries who lead some of the world's biggest global enterprises as well as many mid-market companies. The good news is that respondents from the 10 major economies surveyed were mostly optimistic about their growth prospects over the next three years, with a significant number expecting to be expanding geographically as well as increasing employment.  

This article was originally published in the Irish Times and is reproduced here with their kind permission.    

Multinational investment

Some 32 per cent of US chief executives surveyed are planning international expansion. This is very important to Ireland, given that it attracts 9 per cent of all US multinational investment into the EU.
 
According to Murphy, Ireland remains well placed to benefit from this sentiment: "US companies have been expanding abroad for decades but there seems to be a significant shift in strategy for multinationals to a more focused approach to globalising. A decade ago there was less consistent focus on location. Now companies are selecting markets where they believe they have the best opportunity to achieve their financial and strategic goals. Given our IDA-led positioning as the gateway to an EU market of over 500 million people, this shift is hugely relevant to Ireland."

Murphy also points to other major changes in emphasis in global boardrooms which are of importance to Ireland. "Our survey highlights that transformation and the need to innovate are at the top of the board agenda in almost every major organisation. In many cases CEOs are aggressively trying to position their companies to succeed in the context of incredible technology-driven disruption."
 
Chief executives are being challenged to keep products and services relevant, to keep up with new technology and to stay ahead of competitors that may not have existed only a few years ago, he says.
 
Murphy also emphasises the growing importance of talent in helping meet these challenges: "Companies in all sectors find themselves in circumstances that they don't control and they are trying to figure out how to prosper by using the right combination of talent and technology."
 
He cites data and analytics (D&A) as a good example. "Knowing how to translate data into business outcomes is one of the biggest challenges any CEO deals with. A key question for these businesses is whether they have those skills and if not, what they need to do get them and where they need to go to secure them."
 
It's in this context that Murphy sees attracting and retaining talent as being vital for Ireland, as it is mentioned by chief executives as among the
toughest issues companies and indeed countries need to address to stay relevant. "CEOs report a looming skills gap that is predicted to worsen in the years ahead," he says. "Our survey highlights that only 54 per cent of global CEOs are confident that they have the right talent in place to drive success over the next three years."
 
On the other hand, he believes Ireland's strategies in relation to talent, innovation and inward investment are well thought out and paying dividends.
 
"KPMG is the biggest private sector recruiter of graduates in the country and we have first-hand experience of those strategies. From an Irish perspective, there are multiple factors at play in meeting the concerns and ambitions of CEOs. We need to continue to provide stability and certainty; the good news is that Ireland scores well in this regard both in terms of the business environment and corporate taxation."

Multinational investment

Some 32 per cent of US chief executives surveyed are planning international expansion. This is very important to Ireland, given that it attracts 9 per cent of all US multinational investment into the EU.  

According to Murphy, Ireland remains well placed to benefit from this sentiment: "US companies have been expanding abroad for decades but there seems to be a significant shift in strategy for multinationals to a more focused approach to globalising. A decade ago there was less consistent focus on location. Now companies are selecting markets where they believe they have the best opportunity to achieve their financial and strategic goals. Given our IDA-led positioning as the gateway to an EU market of over 500 million people, this shift is hugely relevant to Ireland." Murphy also points to other major changes in emphasis in global boardrooms which are of importance to Ireland. "Our survey highlights that transformation and the need to innovate are at the top of the board agenda in almost every major organisation. In many cases CEOs are aggressively trying to position their companies to succeed in the context of incredible technology-driven disruption."  

Chief executives are being challenged to keep products and services relevant, to keep up with new technology and to stay ahead of competitors that may not have existed only a few years ago, he says.  

Murphy also emphasises the growing importance of talent in helping meet these challenges: "Companies in all sectors find themselves in circumstances that they don't control and they are trying to figure out how to prosper by using the right combination of talent and technology."  

He cites data and analytics (D&A) as a good example. "Knowing how to translate data into business outcomes is one of the biggest challenges any CEO deals with. A key question for these businesses is whether they have those skills and if not, what they need to do get them and where they need to go to secure them."  

It's in this context that Murphy sees attracting and retaining talent as being vital for Ireland, as it is mentioned by chief executives as among the toughest issues companies and indeed countries need to address to stay relevant. "CEOs report a looming skills gap that is predicted to worsen in the years ahead," he says. "Our survey highlights that only 54 per cent of global CEOs are confident that they have the right talent in place to drive success over the next three years."  

On the other hand, he believes Ireland's strategies in relation to talent, innovation and inward investment are well thought out and paying dividends.  

"KPMG is the biggest private sector recruiter of graduates in the country and we have first-hand experience of those strategies. From an Irish perspective, there are multiple factors at play in meeting the concerns and ambitions of CEOs. We need to continue to provide stability and certainty; the good news is that Ireland scores well in this regard both in terms of the business environment and corporate taxation."  

Competitive threat

However, this is not enough in itself as other countries also do this well, he says, noting the UK's continually reducing corporation tax rate as an example of a growing competitive threat to Ireland's FDI ambitions.  

Murphy also highlights the survey's findings on innovation as having implications for Ireland.  

"CEOs recognise and are acting on the need to innovate and this is reinforced by our research where one in four global CEOs believe driving innovation is their most critical challenge. Innovation is driven fundamentally by having the best people throughout the organisation and not just at the top. Ireland needs to do more to retain and attract innovative people. Ireland is a hugely attractive place in which to work and live; however, high rates of personal taxes kick in too early and do not help efforts to sell Ireland as a place to either stay in or move to."  

He also points to what he describes as a myriad of other issues to address. "These include encouraging and rewarding female entrepreneurship and participation at board level, making the capital gains regime for entrepreneurs more competitive and the very pressing need to reverse the downward decline in some of our university rankings. Ireland starts from a very positive base but research such as this survey helps draw our attention to the issues that matter to global business and highlight the strategic imperatives Ireland needs to address. We are in a good position but we can't afford to be complacent."  

Multinational investment

Some 32 per cent of US chief executives surveyed are planning international expansion. This is very important to Ireland, given that it attracts 9 per cent of all US multinational investment into the EU.  

According to Murphy, Ireland remains well placed to benefit from this sentiment: "US companies have been expanding abroad for decades but there seems to be a significant shift in strategy for multinationals to a more focused approach to globalising. A decade ago there was less consistent focus on location. Now companies are selecting markets where they believe they have the best opportunity to achieve their financial and strategic goals. Given our IDA-led positioning as the gateway to an EU market of over 500 million people, this shift is hugely relevant to Ireland." Murphy also points to other major changes in emphasis in global boardrooms which are of importance to Ireland. "Our survey highlights that transformation and the need to innovate are at the top of the board agenda in almost every major organisation. In many cases CEOs are aggressively trying to position their companies to succeed in the context of incredible technology-driven disruption."  

Chief executives are being challenged to keep products and services relevant, to keep up with new technology and to stay ahead of competitors that may not have existed only a few years ago, he says.  

Murphy also emphasises the growing importance of talent in helping meet these challenges: "Companies in all sectors find themselves in circumstances that they don't control and they are trying to figure out how to prosper by using the right combination of talent and technology."  

He cites data and analytics (D&A) as a good example. "Knowing how to translate data into business outcomes is one of the biggest challenges any CEO deals with. A key question for these businesses is whether they have those skills and if not, what they need to do get them and where they need to go to secure them."  

It's in this context that Murphy sees attracting and retaining talent as being vital for Ireland, as it is mentioned by chief executives as among the toughest issues companies and indeed countries need to address to stay relevant. "CEOs report a looming skills gap that is predicted to worsen in the years ahead," he says. "Our survey highlights that only 54 per cent of global CEOs are confident that they have the right talent in place to drive success over the next three years."  

On the other hand, he believes Ireland's strategies in relation to talent, innovation and inward investment are well thought out and paying dividends.  

"KPMG is the biggest private sector recruiter of graduates in the country and we have first-hand experience of those strategies. From an Irish perspective, there are multiple factors at play in meeting the concerns and ambitions of CEOs. We need to continue to provide stability and certainty; the good news is that Ireland scores well in this regard both in terms of the business environment and corporate taxation."  

Competitive threat

However, this is not enough in itself as other countries also do this well, he says, noting the UK's continually reducing corporation tax rate as an example of a growing competitive threat to Ireland's FDI ambitions.  

Murphy also highlights the survey's findings on innovation as having implications for Ireland.  

"CEOs recognise and are acting on the need to innovate and this is reinforced by our research where one in four global CEOs believe driving innovation is their most critical challenge. Innovation is driven fundamentally by having the best people throughout the organisation and not just at the top. Ireland needs to do more to retain and attract innovative people. Ireland is a hugely attractive place in which to work and live; however, high rates of personal taxes kick in too early and do not help efforts to sell Ireland as a place to either stay in or move to."  

He also points to what he describes as a myriad of other issues to address. "These include encouraging and rewarding female entrepreneurship and participation at board level, making the capital gains regime for entrepreneurs more competitive and the very pressing need to reverse the downward decline in some of our university rankings. Ireland starts from a very positive base but research such as this survey helps draw our attention to the issues that matter to global business and highlight the strategic imperatives Ireland needs to address. We are in a good position but we can't afford to be complacent."  

Multinational investment

Some 32 per cent of US chief executives surveyed are planning international expansion. This is very important to Ireland, given that it attracts 9 per cent of all US multinational investment into the EU.  

According to Murphy, Ireland remains well placed to benefit from this sentiment: "US companies have been expanding abroad for decades but there seems to be a significant shift in strategy for multinationals to a more focused approach to globalising. A decade ago there was less consistent focus on location. Now companies are selecting markets where they believe they have the best opportunity to achieve their financial and strategic goals. Given our IDA-led positioning as the gateway to an EU market of over 500 million people, this shift is hugely relevant to Ireland." Murphy also points to other major changes in emphasis in global boardrooms which are of importance to Ireland. "Our survey highlights that transformation and the need to innovate are at the top of the board agenda in almost every major organisation. In many cases CEOs are aggressively trying to position their companies to succeed in the context of incredible technology-driven disruption."  

Chief executives are being challenged to keep products and services relevant, to keep up with new technology and to stay ahead of competitors that may not have existed only a few years ago, he says.  

Murphy also emphasises the growing importance of talent in helping meet these challenges: "Companies in all sectors find themselves in circumstances that they don't control and they are trying to figure out how to prosper by using the right combination of talent and technology."  

He cites data and analytics (D&A) as a good example. "Knowing how to translate data into business outcomes is one of the biggest challenges any CEO deals with. A key question for these businesses is whether they have those skills and if not, what they need to do get them and where they need to go to secure them."  

It's in this context that Murphy sees attracting and retaining talent as being vital for Ireland, as it is mentioned by chief executives as among the toughest issues companies and indeed countries need to address to stay relevant. "CEOs report a looming skills gap that is predicted to worsen in the years ahead," he says. "Our survey highlights that only 54 per cent of global CEOs are confident that they have the right talent in place to drive success over the next three years."  

On the other hand, he believes Ireland's strategies in relation to talent, innovation and inward investment are well thought out and paying dividends.  

"KPMG is the biggest private sector recruiter of graduates in the country and we have first-hand experience of those strategies. From an Irish perspective, there are multiple factors at play in meeting the concerns and ambitions of CEOs. We need to continue to provide stability and certainty; the good news is that Ireland scores well in this regard both in terms of the business environment and corporate taxation."  

Competitive threat

However, this is not enough in itself as other countries also do this well, he says, noting the UK's continually reducing corporation tax rate as an example of a growing competitive threat to Ireland's FDI ambitions.  

Murphy also highlights the survey's findings on innovation as having implications for Ireland.  

"CEOs recognise and are acting on the need to innovate and this is reinforced by our research where one in four global CEOs believe driving innovation is their most critical challenge. Innovation is driven fundamentally by having the best people throughout the organisation and not just at the top. Ireland needs to do more to retain and attract innovative people. Ireland is a hugely attractive place in which to work and live; however, high rates of personal taxes kick in too early and do not help efforts to sell Ireland as a place to either stay in or move to."  

He also points to what he describes as a myriad of other issues to address. "These include encouraging and rewarding female entrepreneurship and participation at board level, making the capital gains regime for entrepreneurs more competitive and the very pressing need to reverse the downward decline in some of our university rankings. Ireland starts from a very positive base but research such as this survey helps draw our attention to the issues that matter to global business and highlight the strategic imperatives Ireland needs to address. We are in a good position but we can't afford to be complacent."  

Competitive threat

However, this is not enough in itself as other countries also do this well, he says, noting the UK's continually reducing corporation tax rate as an example of a growing competitive threat to Ireland's FDI ambitions.  

Murphy also highlights the survey's findings on innovation as having implications for Ireland. 

"CEOs recognise and are acting on the need to innovate and this is reinforced by our research where one in four global CEOs believe driving innovation is their most critical challenge. Innovation is driven fundamentally by having the best people throughout the organisation and not just at the top. Ireland needs to do more to retain and attract innovative people. Ireland is a hugely attractive place in which to work and live; however, high rates of personal taxes kick in too early and do not help efforts to sell Ireland as a place to either stay in or move to." 

He also points to what he describes as a myriad of other issues to address. "These include encouraging and rewarding female entrepreneurship and participation at board level, making the capital gains regime for entrepreneurs more competitive and the very pressing need to reverse the downward decline in some of our university rankings. Ireland starts from a very positive base but research such as this survey helps draw our attention to the issues that matter to global business and highlight the strategic imperatives Ireland needs to address. We are in a good position but we can't afford to be complacent." 

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