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Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomes strong improvement in Ireland’s competitiveness performance

Ireland moves to 6th most competitive economy out of 63 countries in the IMD Global Competitiveness Yearbook Report

Ireland is second most competitive economy within the EU and Euro area 

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today (Thursday June 1st) welcomed the findings of the IMD’s 2017 Global Competitiveness Yearbook which shows that Ireland’s competitiveness ranking has improved by one place this year and Ireland is now the 6th most competitive economy as benchmarked by the IMD. Within the EU and Euro area Ireland is the second most competitive economy. This is Ireland’s best competitiveness ranking as benchmarked by the IMD, since 2000. 

Ireland achieved top ranking position in a number of important sub factors as follows:

  • 1st for Investment Incentives

  • 1st for National Culture

  • 1st for Labour productivity

  • 1st for Flexibility and adaptability

  • 1st for Attitudes towards globalisation

  • 1st for Attracting and retaining talent

Welcoming the Report’s findings Minister Mitchell O’Connor said “Improving competitiveness performance is a core focus of the work of my Department and wider Government policy. Competitiveness is integral to exports, jobs growth and as a means of achieving sustainable improvements in living standards. Enhancing Ireland’s competitiveness performance is particularly vital in light of the challenges posed by Brexit. The continued rise in Ireland's overall ranking in this year’s IMD publication is very welcome news and an important signal to international investors.”

Ireland ranks first in terms of gross fixed capital investment growth, investment incentives, labour productivity, our national culture, adaptability and attracting and retaining talent. As recognised by the IMD, many of Ireland’s traditional assets such as our education system, highly skilled workforce, and pro-enterprise business environment continue to remain competitive. 

The Minister continued “In the 2017 Action Plan for Job the Government set out an ambitious target for Ireland to achieve a top 5 global competitiveness ranking by 2020. I am pleased to see Ireland continues to make progress towards this target. The improvement in Ireland’s ranking is the result of the efforts of ambitious enterprises, hardworking employees and effective enterprise focused policies”.

The IMD Report underlines the importance of maintaining competitiveness in the context of intense competition internationally for exports, mobile investment and talent. It is also a timely reminder about the need to continuously implement policies to improve our performance further in light of significant challenges such as Brexit, exchange rate movements and uncertain global growth. To improve competitiveness we must consolidate Ireland’s traditional strengths in terms of talent, productivity and export competitiveness and address those areas where we lag other countries such as infrastructure. I agree with the National Competitiveness Council that we cannot be complacent with regard to competitiveness. As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, further improving Ireland’s competitiveness performance is a key priority.  The objective now is to further protect our national competitiveness and to deliver a job-fit business environment which ranks in the top tier globally”.

Ireland is regarded as particularly strong in terms of the competitiveness of our tax regime, education and skill level of the labour force, business friendly environment, policy stability, strong R&D culture and cost competitiveness.

Ireland’s performance has improved across all four key dimensions assessed by IMD and our ranking for 2017 can be summarised as follows: 

  1. ​Economic Performance-4th position, improvement up 2 places on last year and 22 places on 2013

  2. Government Efficiency-13th position, improvement up 4 places on 2016 and 8 places on 2013

  3. Business Efficiency-3rd position, a decline of 1 place on 2016 and improvement of 10 places on 2013

  4. ​Infrastructure-19th position, improvement up 4 places on 2016 and improvement of 3 places on 2013


For further information contact Press Office, D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, ph. 6312200 or 

Notes for editors. 

The IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook is an internationally renowned publication which assesses countries across the globe using over 300 competitiveness indicators, and ranks and analyses the ability of nations to create and maintain an environment in which enterprises can compete. Competitiveness is assessed using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data. In terms of quantitative data; improved economic growth, government finances and credit are areas where significant improvement has been seen. The qualitative piece is an IMD survey of 4,300 international executives.