New Ibec survey reveals extent of business uncertainty from COVID-19

Ibec is Ireland’s largest and most influential business representative and lobby group with over 7,000 members across Ireland. The breadth and depth of our membership base gives Ibec unique insights and perspectives on business and the economy.
In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland, Ibec conducted a new national business survey on 23th and 24th March 2020. Further surveys will be conducted in due course. 
Our new survey found unprecedented levels of uncertainty around business continuity among members. Almost nine out of 10 businesses (86%) cited the uncertainty around the continuity of their business as a challenge at this time. Cost containment (78%), reduced / lost sales (72%), supply chain disruption (68%) and difficulty with remote working (64%) were also key challenges currently facing Irish business.
Commenting, Fergal O’Brien, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on business and society globally. The impact on business in Ireland has been dramatic on a macro level and in our survey the most immediate challenge facing many businesses is how to continue to operate in a vastly altered business landscape. 
“Even with the best planning and risk management in the world, the nature of this pandemic is very different to previous economic shocks. The sweeping nature of the restrictions imposed by the public health imperative has resulted in a huge supply side impact which has widespread implications in terms of lost sales, supply chain disruption and the need to contain costs. 
“Since the onset of the crisis, Ibec has consistently made the case that we must prevent this supply side shock cascading into a demand shock which would permanently close some businesses and challenge the recovery.”
The Ibec survey also asked employers about the range of supports they are offering employees with 44% of respondents providing additional supports to employees working remotely, 40% providing online technology training to employees, and 35% offering additional supports to employees with childcare responsibilities. 
The Ibec survey is compiled with responses from 440 companies across Ireland. Almost two in five of respondents were from companies with 50 employees or fewer, while just over one in five responses were from organisations with over 250 employees.