Back to Top

 Skip navigation

Business Performance in Ireland

Open in Excel:

The performance of business in Ireland in 2014 was examined using a number of performance indicators.  The structural business surveys 1 were used to compile the data.

Labour productivity, personnel costs as a percentage of Gross Value Added (GVA) and enterprise profitability were analysed. The contribution of the 50 largest enterprises, in terms of GVA, was also examined. 

GVA represents the value of the goods and services produced, in this case, in the Irish business economy. A simple measure of productivity is to analyse GVA by the number of persons engaged. The relatively large multinational sector in Ireland and the consequent assignment of value added to the Irish economy, can make the interpretation of indicators like GVA per person more difficult. 

Care should be taken when looking at the results for Micro sized enterprises. This size class covers enterprises with less than 10 persons engaged. This also includes enterprises that officially have no persons engaged assigned to them, but in some cases have significant economic value.  Figure 4.1 highlights the relatively high (when compared to other SMEs) GVA per person engaged for Micro enterprises. In Figure 4.3 we can see that personnel costs relative to GVA are lower for Micro enterprises than for other SMEs, as these enterprises without persons engaged would consequently have no personnel costs.


(1) The surveys used were Census of Industrial Production (CIP), Building and Construction Inquiry (BCI) and Annual Services Inquiry (ASI).  Financial and Insurance activities were excluded from this analysis.

Open in Excel:
Irish-ownedAll enterprises
Micro <1066122.820076453573932.7751035832
Small 10-4943629.993088484152972.9804326027
Medium 50-24945602.868759022859000.0979705359
Large 250+79890.400441325169439.095838922
00
All size classes58645.826038631992569.6467038822
  • Gross Value Added per person engaged averaged €92,570 for all enterprises in the Irish non-financial business economy in 2014, while Irish-owned enterprises averaged €58,646.
  • GVA per person engaged generally increased in line with enterprise size, with the exception of Micro enterprises.
  • Small enterprises reported GVA per person of €52,973, which increased to €59,000 for Medium enterprises and peaked at €169,439 for Large enterprises. 
SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
All sectors63363169439
Industry98762313139
Construction5550263025
Distribution5192557884.852698182
Services62244153654
  • Gross Value Added per person engaged averaged €169,439 for Large enterprises and €63,363 for SMEs in the Irish non-financial business economy during 2014.
  • In comparison to other sectors, Large Industrial enterprises reported the highest average GVA per person engaged, at €313,139.  
  • Industrial SMEs also reported the highest GVA per person engaged in their size class, at €98,762.
  • In Construction, average GVA per person engaged in Large firms was €63,025 and for SMEs €55,502.
  • The difference between GVA reported by Large firms and those classified as SMEs is smallest in the Distribution sector, where Large enterprises reported GVA per person engaged of €57,885 and SMEs €51,925.
  • In the Services sector, average GVA per person engaged by large firms reached €153,654 compared to €62,244 for SMEs in 2014. 
Irish-ownedAll enterprises
Micro (<10)55.017318621359549.3801178551435
Small (10-49)76.953035183041566.1174580350932
Medium (50-249)77.589008544127665.4677306864036
Large (250+)56.374328925989627.6760475002925
00
All size classes62.746658023533942.6004800775872
  • In 2014, personnel costs represented 42.6% of GVA across all enterprises. For Irish-owned enterprises the figure was 62.7%.
  • Personnel costs as a proportion of GVA for Large Irish-owned enterprises is around twice the level of all Large enterprises (Irish plus Foreign), 56.4% versus 27.7%.
SMES (<250)Large (250+)
All sectors57.827.7
Industry42.620.5
Construction 64.159
Distribution65.854
Services5930
  • In all sectors, it was shown that personnel costs as a percentage of GVA was lower in Large enterprises than in Small and Medium Enterprises in 2014.
  • Large Industrial enterprises paid 20.5% of GVA in personnel costs compared to 42.6% for Industrial SMEs.
  • Services enterprises that employed more than 250 people incurred personnel costs equivalent to 30% of GVA compared to 59% in SMEs in 2014.
Irish-ownedAll enterprises
Micro (<10)13.714.1
Small (10-49)4.96.6
Medium (50-249)4.77
Large (250+)13.121.7
00
All size classes9.915
  • For all enterprises in the Irish non-financial business economy, 15% of Turnover was reported as Gross Operating Surplus.
  • Irish-owned enterprises reported 9.9% of Turnover as Gross Operating Surplus.
  • The highest rate of Gross Operating Surplus as a percentage of Turnover at 21.7%,  was reported by all Irish and Foreign Large enterprises combined.
SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
All sectors9.821.7
Industry16.327.2
Construction14.117.5
Distribution4.18.7
Services12.420.4
  • Large enterprises generated a Gross Operating Surplus as a percentage of Turnover of 21.7% in 2014 compared to SMEs who generated 9.8%.
  • The Distribution sector generated the least Gross Operating Surplus as a percentage of Turnover, with Large enterprises at 8.7% and SMEs at 4.1% in 2014.
  • The Industry sector generated the most Gross Operating Surplus as a percentage of Turnover, with Large enterprises at 27.2% and SMEs at 16.3% in 2014.
Top 50 by employmentTop 50 by GVA
Gross operating surplus16.543759210962662.6
GVA15.428750781116440.3
Turnover14.725924527745329.2
  • The 50 largest enterprises in the business economy by GVA accounted for 29.2% of total Turnover, 40.3% of total GVA and 62.6% of Gross Operating Surplus. These Top 50 enterprises only accounted for 6.4% of all persons engaged.
  • The 50 largest enterprises in the business economy by employment accounted for 14.7% of total Turnover, 15.4% of total GVA and 16.5% of Gross Operating Surplus.
  • Industry stands out in terms of its reliance on a small number of high value added enterprises. The 50 largest enterprises in Industry by GVA accounted for 52.4% of total Turnover, 68.5 % of total GVA and 81.7% of Gross Operating Surplus for the sector.
Show Table: 4.1 Contribution of 50 largest enterprises by GVA within sector, 2014

Go to next chapter >>> Business Costs in Ireland