Contribution of Small Business In Ireland - Annual Report

10 September, 2007

The Small Firms Association have released the findings of its 6th Annual National Business Survey, which highlights the problems currently affecting the small business sector.

  • Labour Costs still No. 1 problem for small firms
  • Inflation second highest business concern
  • Energy and fuel prices now major concern for 67% of small companies
  • Skills shortages an escalating concern for 57% of small companies
  • Regulatory burden costs continue to seriously undermine small business sector

Key points from the report include:

Services: Over 400,000 employed by small businesses in the services sector

In the services sector, almost all enterprises (98%) are small. There were 83,500 small businesses which employed over 400,000 people in services in 2004. This was more than half of total employment in the sector. Small firms also accounted for more than half (52%) of the total turnover in the services sector, generating a total turnover of just under €74bn in 2004. Almost half of small businesses in the services sector were family owned (47%). The vast majority of these family businesses employed less than 10 people.

Size of workplace: Over 60% of employment is in small workplaces

In total, 1,262,900 people work at small workplaces. Of these, almost 940,000 are employees, 209,000 are self-employed and 104,600 were self-employed with employees. These figures include farming and the public sector, as well as business sectors. Close to 200,000 non-Irish nationals were in employment in the second quarter of 2006 and more than half of these (55%) worked in small enterprises.

EU comparison: Value added in Irish construction sector firms twice the EU average

In Ireland, small and medium sized enterprises accounted for a higher share of services sector turnover than the EU average. Gross value added per person employed in the construction sector in Ireland was at least double the EU average for all employment size classes.

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