According to the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer survey, almost half of all Irish small and medium enterprise (SME) owners will hold staff Christmas parties this year, thereby marking an increase of around 10 per cent compared with last year's Christmas period.
‘Christmas parties have fallen victim to the recession over the last few years and this noticeable increase is a positive sign that business confidence is picking up,’ said managing director for Close Brothers Commercial Finance (Ireland), Harry Parkinson.
‘For many bosses, the annual Christmas party is significant as it is a chance to build relationships with staff and reward them for their hard work and loyalty throughout the year.
‘However, over the last number of years, many employers have been forced to cut back on any unnecessary expenditure and understandably staff entertainment is often first on the list.
‘Staff morale can make a real difference to a company’s bottom line, so it’s great to see so many employers recognising this and treating their staff with festive celebrations this year.’
The opinion poll of SME owners across the UK and Ireland also revealed that 16 per cent of Irish firms are benefitting from current trading conditions, a rise of over 6 per cent on the previous quarter, suggesting that business confidence is also improving.
‘It appears that the tide could be starting to turn for Irish SMEs. Our research suggests that many firms are making the most of the current economic climate with increasing numbers reporting an improvement in their trading conditions,’ said Parkinson.