1 in 5 Firms Have Already Laid Off Staff Due to Covid-19

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By Chamber Press Office, 31 March 2020

One in five companies have already laid off staff as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and further staff cuts are likely in the coming months, according to a new survey by Dublin Chamber.
 
A survey carried out by Dublin Chamber last week amongst 304 companies found that 22% of firms have already laid off staff, either temporarily or permanently. Almost one third of respondents (30%) said they anticipate further lay-offs over the next three months.
 
The Chamber, which represents 1,300 businesses, said the survey findings highlight the huge impact that the coronavirus is having on business. A decline in revenue, reduced cash flow, and liquidity issues were the top three impacts of the pandemic cited by businesses.
 
The Chamber survey identified that 80% have experienced a drop in revenue due to coronavirus. Alarmingly, almost one third of firms (30%) report that revenues have fallen by more than 50%. Furthermore, 60% of businesses report a decline of greater than 20% in revenue.
 
According to Dublin Chamber's Director of Public & International Affairs Aebhric Mc Gibney: "These results highlight the huge impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on business. We've surveyed members on a weekly basis over the past three weeks and there has been a stark rise in both the number of firms experiencing a drop in revenues and also those having to implement lay-offs. The survey findings indicate that both these trends are likely to continue over the coming weeks and months."
 
Mr Mc Gibney said the Chamber's recent weekly surveys indicate a clear trend in terms of impact. He said: "In the two weeks leading up to the 25th of March, the proportion of firms declaring a negative impact on their turnover doubled to just over 80%. Over that same period, the number of firms reporting a revenue decline of more than 50% has increased from one in 20 to one in two. The survey data doesn’t just reveal the immediate difficulties facing business today, but underscores the scale of the challenge that will face the Government in reviving the Irish economy when this is all over. We need to start planning now for an ambitious plan to reboot the economy when the pandemic passes.”
 
Accommodation & Food Sector Hardest Hit
A breakdown of the survey results finds that the accommodation and food sector is one of the hardest hit, with 100% of firms surveyed in that sector noting a drop in revenues. Around four in five firms (83%) in the accommodation and food sector have laid off staff.
 
Many firms have turned to remote working to help them deal with the coronavirus. Encouragingly, 86% of respondents noted that the experience of remote working has been positive so far. Around one third of firms who had only commenced remote working due to the coronavirus said they would be continuing to embrace remote working as a permanent practice in their business. Just one in ten (9%) firms noted a negative experience of remote working. Two thirds (67%) of companies said they are entirely working remotely, while a further 27% said some staff were working remotely.
 
The Chamber's survey was carried out on Tuesday the 24th and Wednesday 25th March.