Irish businesses remain resilient in their outlook for 2021, with almost two thirds of businesses forecasting a bounce back in recruitment in the sector next year, despite any impending threat of redundancies, which is also looming large in the minds of business owners. This was the sentiment revealed by the latest survey from the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland (ACOI). The survey of over 300 ACOI member organisations, primarily compliance leaders employed in large financial organisations around the country, sought to gain insight into how businesses feel they will fare as they face into another difficult year, given the current economic climate and COVID landscape. Most (64%) believe that firms in their sector will recruit in 2021, while more than half say they have not had to implement pay cuts and are not expecting to experience any in the near future.
Michael Kavanagh, CEO of ACOI commented on the findings, “The results are encouraging, particularly in light of the economic outlook for Ireland in 2021, and given what businesses have already been through over the last 4 or 5 months. That 64% of respondents believe firms in the financial services sector will recruit in 2021 shows signs of optimism and confidence.
What’s more just 23% of firms have had to cut pay or benefits so far – this demonstrated the resilience of sector. And we believe that most of these cuts were to benefits or bonuses rather than core salary.
Recent research finds that the financial services sector has emerged as one of the areas of industry least affected by COVID-19. While niche areas such as aviation and travel insurance have been significantly impacted, overall, the sector has remained relatively stable throughout the pandemic. It’s also important to highlight that this crisis has also presented opportunities, particularly where face-to-face customer interactions have been disrupted and forced to move online. Here, operators, particularly in the areas of banking and payments, and insurance; may actually find themselves in a position of strength in terms of growth and recruitment as the consumer experience turns increasingly digital.”
A 2019 Department of Finance report illustrates the significant contribution the financial services and fintech sector makes to the economy – generating an estimated €11 billion in exports, 6.3% of GDP, and €2 billion in tax receipts.
Mr. Kavanagh went on to say, “ Our members have shown great resilience during the pandemic, as has the Irish business community at large. Business compliance with public health measures has on the whole been exemplary, so too have the ways in which businesses, particularly those within financial services, have worked to reimagine their operating environments, their talent retention, and diversify their product and service offerings. The recently published report on the sector highlights the challenges and opportunities coming down the line. Harnessing the flexibility and strength that has been built in the sector over the last two decades will be vital towards ensuring longer term job sustainability and retention during these difficult times.”