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Dublin Chamber Q4 Survey


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By Chamber Press Office, 23 December 2021


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Staffing is the biggest challenge facing businesses in 2022 – Dublin Chamber survey


+ Availability of housing and labour are the biggest issues threatening competitiveness next year.

+ Remote and flexible working is now the most effective employee retention measure.



15th December 2021: Over half of Dublin businesses (54%) report that staff retention and recruitment will be their biggest challenge in 2022, according to Dublin Chamber’s most recent Business Outlook Survey (Q4 2021) published today. The staffing challenge ranks well ahead of other concerns at present, including a return to stricter Covid-19 regulations (15%) and managing flexible and remote working (12%).


Almost 7 in 10 businesses (69%) have seen an increase in staff turnover in the past 6 months according to the survey, carried out among more than 300 firms across the Greater Dublin Area. Meanwhile, a similar percentage of businesses (67%) report that they have struggled to recruit for a specific role in the past year. 


Businesses also identified the availability of housing and labour as the top issues which would impact Dublin’s competitiveness in 2022. Almost half of businesses (45%) ranked housing availability as the number one issue impacting Dublin’s competitiveness in the year ahead. This marks an increase from 39% in Q4 2019. Almost 1 in 3 businesses (29%) reported that the availability of skills and talent will be the biggest issue affecting Dublin’s competitiveness, reflecting concerns about staff recruitment and retention at company level.


Dublin Chamber’s Director of Public & International Affairs Aebhric Mc Gibney said: “These results strikingly confirm the widespread anecdotal reports of increased staff turnover and recruitment difficulties in recent months. Businesses are experiencing serious staffing challenges and are expecting this problem to persist well into 2022. This likely reflects the international trend of a “Great Resignation” following Covid-19, but it cannot be attributed solely to the pandemic.”


“Clearly, the issues of staffing and housing availability are closely linked. The price and availability of housing in Dublin has been a problem for businesses for several years now, constricting their access to skilled employees and increasing cost pressures. Covid-19 conditions have exacerbated the problem, as businesses experience higher levels of staff turnover and struggle to fill specific roles. Until the housing crisis is addressed, businesses will continue to struggle to attract and retain talent, and Dublin’s competitiveness will be affected.” Mr. Mc Gibney said.


Flexible and remote working the most effective measure to attract staff


Flexible and remote working (56%), competitive salaries (48%), and positive work culture (33%) were ranked by businesses as the top three most effective measures to attract and retain staff. These findings confirm anecdotal reports that employees’ priorities are evolving and that there is greater pressure on employers to be flexible.


Many firms responding to the survey noted that while competitive salaries are still important, they must also offer flexible and remote working conditions and a positive work culture in order to attract and retain staff.


Mr. Mc Gibney noted: “The offer of flexible and remote working appears to be an increasingly important measure for staff attraction and retention. Although many businesses had championed flexible working conditions prior to Covid-19, there is no doubt that the demand for new work practices accelerated because of the pandemic. The future of work is evolving, and businesses are adapting to new work practices and new employee priorities.”


Although new working practices offer opportunities, they are not without their challenges. Businesses reported that cultivating a positive team culture (28%), staff collaboration (24%), and isolation or employees' mental health (15%) are the three biggest challenges associated with remote or flexible work.


Mr. Mc Gibney continued: “Many businesses reported that they were struggling to cultivate a positive work culture, with newer employees having never physically been in the office. Employers have indicated that it can be difficult to discern if staff are happy in their roles, particularly with newer staff who may not have built up a sense of belonging in the company. Moreover, remote and flexible working has to be balanced with on-site activity. Without this team element, businesses may struggle to cultivate the positive work culture that employees need to feel a sense of connection with their place of work.”


                                                                            - Ends -


Notes to Editors: Dublin Chamber’s Business Outlook Survey Q4 2021 is now available in full here


For further information please contact:

Ellen McGrath| Senior Public Affairs Executive | Dublin Chamber |

+ 447549839118


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