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Welcome to This Week's Issue | Here's What's Inside...

We're delighted to bring you another jam-packed issue of Dublin Chamber Weekly, kindly sponsored by PwC.

 

Inside this week's edition you will find details of the Chamber’s latest policy and lobbying work. There's also information on unmissable upcoming events.

 

All that plus your regular helping of member news and much, much more. Enjoy the issue!


Chamber Lobbying Update
 

As the voice of the Dublin business community, Dublin Chamber is continuing to lobby on a range of policy issues facing our members. Throughout the pandemic, we have focused on informing Government about the impact which Covid-19 and the public health restrictions are having on businesses of all sizes, and the effectiveness or otherwise of various support measures. 

 

You can read the Government’s plan for the phased easing of restrictions here, while the most up-to-date and comprehensive guide to Supports for Businesses Impacted by Covid-19 is available here.

 


Meanwhile, we are keeping focus on the medium-to-long-term challenges the pandemic poses in terms of business recapitalisation and the future of our urban centres, for example. Dublin Chamber’s Policy Council met last week to discuss flexible working, the economic outlook, and priorities for Budget 2022, and you can get a sense of its recent policy work by visiting our submissions page.

 

With the impact on urban centres in mind, we have been promoting our vision of a 15 Minute City among Dublin City Councillors, and backing ambitious business plans to revitalise the O’Connell Street district through increased residential capacity and footfall. Chamber members can watch our recent briefing on the future of the O’Connell Street district here.

 

This month, we have also been engaging with the Department of Finance on ways to help finance SMEs by improving the Employment & Investment Incentive scheme; and with the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment to highlight business concerns around long-term remote working.

 

You can find out more about recent policy developments in this newsletter. As always, we welcome input from all our members to help shape and inform the Chamber’s policy work.

 

We are always keen to hear from you, whether on the specific issues raised in this newsletter or on any other matter. If you have thoughts or feedback on policy from a business perspective, please get in touch with us by emailing: policy@dublinchamber.ie.

Q1 Business Outlook Survey
 

The results of Dublin Chamber’s Q1 Business Outlook Survey are now online, and they reveal that 77% of companies saw their turnover decrease in 2020, with 1 in 6 seeing their turnover decrease by at least 50%. However, despite the significant impact of Covid-19 on businesses, support remains high for prioritising investment in infrastructure and housing in the next budget. Forward thinking is evident in other areas too, with over half of businesses reporting that they had made changes to become more sustainable in the past 12 months.

 

The Q1 Business Outlook Survey was based on a sample of over 300 companies in the Greater Dublin Area, and its results also reveal insights on staff upskilling, business challenges, Covid-19 supports, and expectations for revenue, profit, and staff numbers over the next three months. You can read the report in full here.


Much Done but More to do to Stop Cyber Attacks on Irish Businesses
 

While great strides have been made, Irish firms can do better to stop the cyber attackers compared to global peers. For example, better allocation of budgets to the right risks, accelerating digitisation, strengthening cybersecurity defenses and responding more quickly to cyber incidents. Less than half of Irish survey respondents plan to increase resilience testing to prevent the most disruptive cyber attack. These are some of the key findings from PwC’s research:2021 Global Digital Trust Insights: Cybersecurity comes of age, the Irish analysis which launched today.   


Much done but more to do to stop cyber attacks on Irish businesses

By Pat Moran, Cyber Leader, PwC Ireland

While great strides have been made, Irish firms can do better to stop the cyber attackers compared to global peers. For example, better allocation of budgets to the right risks, accelerating digitisation, strengthening cybersecurity defenses and responding more quickly to cyber incidents. Less than half of Irish survey respondents plan to increase resilience testing to prevent the most disruptive cyber attack. These are some of the key findings from PwC’s research:2021 Global Digital Trust Insights: Cybersecurity comes of age, the Irish analysis which launched today.   

The report is based on research amongst over 3,200 business and technology executives from around the world including in Ireland and reveals insights into what’s changing and what’s next in cybersecurity. This press release deals with the Irish results including how Ireland compares to global peers.

Overwhelming shift in cybersecurity strategy due to Covid-19

An overwhelming 96% of the Irish respondents said that they have shifted their cybersecurity strategy due to COVID-19. Nearly half (47%) said that they are now more likely to consider cybersecurity in every business decision; a similar proportion (43%) confirmed that COVID-19 will result in better quantification of cyber risks.  

However, to achieve digital aspirations, Irish respondents are less focused on doing things faster and more efficiently (20%) and speeding up automation to cut costs (30%) compared to global peers (Global: 29% and 35% respectively). Just 27% say they have significantly improved customer experiences (Global: 45%) as part of their cybersecurity progress. In addition, just three out of ten (30%) stated that there is likely to be more frequent interactions between their Chief Information Security Officer and CEO or Board (Global: 51%). 

Given the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19, many organisations have had to re-think and re-frame their cybersecurity strategies.  While great strides are being made, the survey also suggests that more can be done by Irish firms compared to their global peers, particularly, to speed up automation and achieve efficiencies. It is also important that the head of information security is in regular communication with the CEO and board to balance the technology and business requirements of any cyber strategy.

Future-proofing cyber teams a key focus

With a significant number of cyber security jobs to be filled in Ireland in 2021 - a key challenge plaguing the cybersecurity industry is a lack of skilled people. At the same time, just under a third (30%) of Irish respondents plan to add full-time cybersecurity personnel over the next year compared to 51% globally.    

The top cybersecurity roles Irish executives are looking to fill include: cloud solution architects (50%), collaboration (50%), digital design (47%), security intelligence (43%) and data analysis (40%).

An alternative that many organisations have used to fill cyber  job vacancies is upskilling - increasing and broadening existing employees’ skills. The research suggests that more Irish firms may be opting for this route to plug the skills’ gap. We also see some organisations relying on managed services to fill the acute need for specialist talent and advanced technologies.

Lack of confidence in how cyber budgets are spent

More than half (55%) of respondents state that their cyber budget will increase in 2021. While a larger budget for cybersecurity is good news, the industry should expect changes in the way these budgets are being managed. 60% of executives lack confidence that their cyber spending is allocated towards the most significant risks of their organisation (Global: 55%). Nearly four out of ten (37%) say that they’re thinking about changing their budgeting process (Global: 44%).   

At the same time, less than a third (30%) strongly agree that quantification of cyber risks can significantly improve the way they manage spending against risks (Global:37%). Just over one in ten (13%) strongly agree that their organisation can strengthen its cybersecurity defenses while containing costs (Global: 34%).

More to do to stop cyber attackers

Innovation and technology are changing the way organisations around the world are leveling the playing field against cyber attackers. While progress is being made, however, less than one in three (30%) Irish executives said that COVID-19 has accelerated digitisation (Global: 40%). A similar proportion (30%) confirm that they have made significant progress in responding more quickly to cyber incidents and disruptions (Global: 44%).

The top outcomes desired as a result of increased investment in cybersecurity over the next 2-3 years, according to Irish respondents, are: improved confidence of leaders’ ability to manage threats, lower cost of compliance and improved customer experience. The prevention of successful attacks and faster response times to disruptions was of greater focus globally than in Ireland.

The survey found that executives from large organisations ($1B+) are more likely to report benefits from making a strategic shift to advanced technologies and restructuring security operations.

Greater efforts needed to build cyber resilience

Since the pandemic, around the world we’ve seen a surge in intrusions, ransomware, data breaches and phishing. Still less than half (43%) of respondents said that they plan to increase resilience testing to ensure critical business services will function even if the most disruptive cyber event occurs. 

The internet of things, mobile, cloud service providers and other third parties top the list of ‘very likely’ root causes of cyber threats in the year ahead. However, cyber attacks on cloud services top the list of threats that will have a ‘significant negative impact’

Irish firms have made progress in terms of modernising their capabilities and re-aligning their cyber strategy in their efforts to beat the cyber attackers. But the survey suggests that compared to global peers Irish firms should place a greater focus on investing in technologies and strengthening their cyber defenses to make a more meaningful headway against cyber attackers. Leading cybersecurity teams have a three-fold mission: build trust, build resilience,and accelerate innovation.

Right to Disconnect: Code of Practice Announced
 

Last week the new Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect was announced by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. This new Code of Practice affords employees the right to disconnect from work, including work communications, when outside of working hours. While failure to comply with the Code of Practice is not an offence in itself, it can be referenced before the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Courts. The Code seeks to offer guidance and support for employees and employers on integrating a Right to Disconnect Policy and can be found here.

 

Dublin Chamber made a submission in response to the public consultation on the Right to Disconnect in January this year, stressing the need for the Code of Practice to allow for flexibility so that employees and employers can accommodate modern working practices and business operations, and the operational needs of international businesses. The new Code of Practice makes significant and positive reference to the need for flexibility to suit global business needs the varying operational requirements of different businesses. You can read Dublin Chamber's submission here.


Construction Sector Focus Group, Tuesday 13th April @ 11am
 

The recent announcement of the Government's lockdown exit plan included a phased return of activity in the construction industry. This has been met with criticism due to the critical nature of many of the construction projects, the impacts and costs of delays, and the low number of outbreaks linked to construction sites. As the resumption of construction activity begins on 12th April, we want to better understand the impact of the phased reopening and get a sense of the impact that the current lockdown and restrictions have had on the timelines and costs for projects. 

 

To better understand your views, we are holding a focus group in which members can discuss the challenges that they are currently facing and identify potential solutions or supports. Your input and feedback are critical to help us continue to lobby effectively on these issues on your behalf. 

 

The focus group will be held at 11am on Tuesday 13th April and conducted through Zoom.


It will last approximately 60 minutes, and we hope for a robust exchange of views and sharing of experiences. The discussion will focus on the building and constructions sector and will be based off the individual input of participants. We will broadly frame the content across the following themes: 

  1. What are the main challenges currently facing the sector?
  2. What have been the impacts of the current lockdown on timelines and costs? How will this impact business long-term?
  3. What supports or policy changes do you think are needed to successfully re-open the sector and prevent further restrictions/closures? 

Please register your interest in participating by emailing carol@dublinchamber.ie.

 

This focus groups will be limited in number to best facilitate in-depth feedback and discussion, so the participant list will be filled on a first come first served basis. We hope that you are available to take part and provide your valuable insights and perspectives.

 

Webinar with Paul Reid: The HSE & Covid-19: Where to from here?
 

Dublin Chamber is proud to welcome Paul Reid, CEO of the Health Services Executive, as our guest speaker at this timely webinar briefing on Tuesday 27th April 2021 @ 3.45pm. In a talk entitled “The HSE & Covid-19: Where to from here?”, Paul Reid will share his thoughts on the future of the HSE and will then take questions from the audience, moderated by Dublin Chamber’s Aebhric McGibney. This event is kindly sponsored by Ronan Daly Jeremyn. For more details, and to book your place, click here.


In Focus: The Costs of Remote Working
 

Over the course of three focus group sessions held with members late last month, the key concerns around the financial costs relating to remote working practices were discussed in detail. Firms raised points in relation to a possible duplication of costs with home office and city footprint, the cost of risk assessment and insurance, the costs of increased HR and management needs, possible tax implications of international workers, and the overall suitability of current tax credits in support of e-working.  

 

The Chamber has been engaging with policymakers over the past year in relation to the impact of Covid-19 and pre-existing trends on the future of work. The insights shared during focus group sessions inform our advocacy work, and we will be lobbying the Government in relation to the financial implications and cost concerns that businesses are encountering as they plan ahead for more a more flexible working world.

 

If you have questions or would like to discuss the future of flexible and remote working you can get in touch with sinead@dublinchamber.ie.


 

We have a number of great virtual events, workshops and training sessions lined up over the coming weeks that you won't want to miss. Here's a snapshot of some of the highlights.

 

12th April: Monday Wellness with TJ Reid. Book here.

 

14th April: Sustainability Academy, Resource Efficiency Workshop. Book here. 

 

16th April: Monthly Speed Networking. Book here.

 

21st April: An IT Roadmap for Remote Working. Book here. 

 

21st April: Sustainability Academy, Sustainable 101. Book here.

 

For a full listing of all our upcoming events please head over to our website here.

 

*Some of our events are only open to specific member categories.


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Matrix Internet partnered with companies last year helping them secure funding of €40,000 each for the Covid-19 online retail scheme, and are now implementing new digital strategies to transform their business and grow online sales. If you think your retail business or your client could qualify for this, learn more about funding from the scheme in a step-by-step guide here.
 

ADCO broadens Country Wide
 

ADCO Contracting is currently doing a project for Mondel─ôz International in Kerry which involves main structural and architectural steel and civil upgrades, drainage, structural frames, and architectural finishes - all in a live production area where Cadbury's chocolate crumb is made. ADCO is currently completing major essential works nationwide with a number of international clients. Read more here.

 


Metis Appointment & Expansion
 

Leading financial planning firm Metis Ireland has responded to growing demand from clients with the appointment of new Financial Planning Executive Kate Walley, as well as the expansion of its Dublin headquarters which has seen its office space triple in size. Read more here.


Quartet of Promotions
 

UK and Ireland’s leading land surveying companies has made a quartet of senior promotions across the business this month. Murphy Geospatial, which has offices in six countries across Europe, has promoted Paraic Quirke, Paul Kearney, Colin Simpson and Trevor Moore into associate director positions. Read more here.