Home / News and Events / Latest News / Businesses Expected to Increase Employee Pay

Businesses Expected to Increase Employee Pay


  • Business Confidence rises from -4% to 1%.
  • 64% of businesses expect to increase wage rates of employees
  • 79% of businesses report an increase to their motor insurance
  • Between 75% and 78% report an increase in their Public and Employer Liability Insurance, respectively

The results of the ISME Quarterly Business Trends Survey for Q2’19 have been released yesterday (8th July) with 10 out of 12 confidence indicators showing declines, approximately on par with previous quarter. While employment trends are as expected, Business Confidence started to increase in 2019, going up by 5% in this quarter. The three predominant SME concerns for this quarter were reported as Brexit at 17%, economic uncertainty at 14% and insurance costs at 14%.

The Trends Report also captures data on employee pay, broadband services and business and motor insurance costs in the SME sector. The report notes the continued rise in insurance premiums and the latest pay expectations in the SME sector.

Commenting on the results, ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell said:

“We’re delighted to see some improvement in business sentiment in the summer. We hope this suggests a decline in the Brexit malaise that affected businesses in Q1. Most companies are anticipating pay increases for their employees, though it is significant that those Companies contemplating increases are reducing the amount of increase. 57% of employers expect to increase employee pay by between 0.5% and 5%.

Unfortunately, we see a continuing trend for commercial motor, public liability and employers’ liability to rise significantly. Government action is not producing any material change in this area for SMEs.”

This survey was conducted in the last three weeks of June to SMEs, with 54% of whom employ less than 10; 38% employ between 11 and 49; and the remaining 8% employ between 50 and 250. Geographically, 28% are from Dublin; 58% are spread across the rest of the country; and 12% have multiple sites.

ISME will launch its Q3’19 Survey in early September to its members and the SME community.

Trends Report

Overall Confidence Indicators

The Q2’19 Business Trends Quarterly survey showed 10 out of 12 confidence indicators yielding negative results, a similar trend to the previous quarter in 2018. There was an increase in Business Confidence by 5% and a further decrease in Business Expectations by 10%, while Business Environment had a decrease of 5%. The Current Employment confidence indicator had a nominal decrease from 23% to 19%. Future Employment had a nominal increase of 1% from 16% to 17%. Current Sales have decreased from 23% to 17% while Sales Expectations are up 21%. Current Investment and Future Investment are up 2% and 4% respectively. Both Current Exports and Export Expectations are down 19%. Economic uncertainty remains the same at 14%, while Brexit remains the highest concern at 17%. Brexit worry increased in each quarter of 2018, but likely decreased this quarter due to an additional survey question of concern for rising insurance costs, which sits at 14%.

Q2’19 Business Trends Quarterly Survey tracked Key Indicators in Manufacturing, Exporting, Retail and Services. As well as Pay Expectations of Employees and Owner Managers, Insurance Costs including Motor, Public Liability and Employer Liability. The Survey also tracked the biggest concerns of SMEs and broadband services.

View the full Business Trends Survey here.


  • ISME should be referred to as the Irish SME Association
  • This survey was conducted in the third week of June, covering the second quarter of 2019.  

For further information, please contact Sheema Lughmani, T: 01 6622755, E: [email protected]