Competitiveness and the cost of doing business in Ireland are among the top issues for the manufacturing sector, new data shows.
However, the report by business group Ibec reveals that manufacturers are cautiously more optimistic about the business environment compared to last year.
67% of businesses surveyed said attracting and retaining talent was a major challenge, while 72% expect to see wage increases.
Meanwhile, manufacturers expect operating costs to continue rising – with 51% expecting an increase in raw materials, 51% for transport, and 29% for energy.
Increased investment in sustainability, digitisation, research and development and capital investment are also expected, according to the research.
“We welcome the findings of the manufacturing report as it highlights that the manufacturing industry is committed to sustainability and digital technology,” said Sharon Higgins, Executive Director, Membership and Sectors in Ibec.
“There is widespread participation in sustainability and digitalisation initiatives, with half of organisations involved in each of these expecting to save money as a result,” she added.
90% of companies surveyed agreed that sustainability is a priority for their business, while 85% said they will introduce initiatives in the next one to two years that will lessen their environmental impact and address customer expectations.
Meanwhile, 70% of companies ranked digitalisations as a priority for their business, with 68% of businesses surveyed saying that they would introduce digitisation initiatives in Ireland in the next one to two years.
88% said this was to improve work practices and increase efficiency.
“Government needs to continue to invest in the twin transition – digitalisation and sustainability – as well as R&D, to ensure we can continue to move manufacturing sites up the value chain to enable Ireland to compete globally,” said Ms Higgins of Ibec.