Childcare Disproportionately Affects Women in the Workforce, Cork Chamber Survey Reveals

Cork Chamber, the voice of business in Cork, has published its latest Economic Trends, proudly supported by PTSB. Cork Chamber members shared their experiences through the most recent business quarter Q1 2024 and their outlook for Q2 2024. This quarter, Cork Chamber members also expressed their views on the provision of childcare services in Cork and the impact childcare provision has on their employees. 

The Q1 2024 survey found:

  • 77% expressed confidence in the Irish economy

  • 63% of respondents either agree or strongly agree that childcare disproportionately affects women in the workforce

  • 72% stated that policymakers need to take further measures to address the challenges associated with childcare provision

  • Skills availability remains the top threat to business growth

Almost one quarter of respondents (23%) cited that the availability and affordability of childcare provision is impacting staff, with another 23% of respondents acknowledging they are unaware if it is an issue. When asked about the workplace factors that childcare provision is impacting on, the top cited were an increase in remote working requests and an increase in requests to move to part-time work. Notably, 63% believe that women in the workforce are disproportionately affected by childcare provision.

The survey findings underscore the importance of government and policymakers continuing to explore the requirements of childcare provision. A more enhanced, accessible and affordable childcare sector is important to supporting economic growth, and to ensuring that employees are provided with robust choice when considering their participation in the workplace.

Ronan Murray, Cork Chamber President commented, “The business community has shown great resilience over the past number of years, responding to unforeseen events and adapting to changing work patterns. The economy is at near full employment and the findings from our recent survey further validate the need for continued flexibility in a modern and future-proofed workplace, with more reporting an increase in requests for remote working and a move to part-time work due to childcare provision. Ensuring employees have a choice in their work-patterns will be essential to bridging some of the skills shortages businesses are experiencing today.”

Auriol Kelly, Business Banking Manager at PTSB commented on the findings, "The Q1 survey reveals a decline from 38% to 27% of respondents reporting an increase in net profits. However, it is encouraging to see that 42% of businesses anticipate a growth in net profits for Q2. These findings suggest a cautious optimism among businesses and highlight the need for proactive financial strategies to navigate the evolving economic landscape and PTSB is ready to support the business community in achieving their strategic goals."

In closing Mr. Murray said, “Confidence in the economy remains high at 77%. It is positive to see 93% of respondents exhibiting confidence in their own business from a financial perspective. In 2024, retaining a focus on enhancing skills availability, mitigating energy costs, and addressing housing affordability, holds potential for fostering further business growth.”

View results of the Quarterly Economic Trends: