Tallinn, 4. October 2023
(download the survey down below)
Foreign Investors Council in Estonia (FICE) has released its Executive Survey 2023 report.
56% of respondents view rising labour costs this as the biggest challenge to their companies.
At the start of 2023, the Foreign Investors’ Council in Estonia (FICE) conducted an extensive survey to gauge sentiments and predictions regarding the state of the Estonian economy. The survey, titled “FICE Executive Survey 2023,” provides valuable insights into Estonia’s growth prospects, challenges to growth, business environment, and the labor market during the first months of 2023.
Estonia, like many countries, faced economic disruptions over the year 2022 due to various global factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These events led to inflationary pressures, particularly in the energy and food sectors, impacting Estonia as a small, highly open economy. Despite these challenges, the FICE survey reveals a significant level of optimism among foreign investors and businesses operating in Estonia.
- Optimism for Growth: A majority of respondents expressed optimism about the future direction of the Estonian economy. Over 75% anticipate moderate to significant GDP growth over the next 12 months, reflecting their confidence in Estonia’s resilience.
- Business Expansion: Respondents also displayed a favorable outlook for their own businesses, with 75% forecasting moderate to significant revenue growth within the next year. This positive sentiment underscores the potential for continued business development within Estonia.
- Challenges Persist: Challenges identified in the survey include increasing labor costs, shortages of skilled workers, rising inflation, and the impact of interest rate hikes. These factors require strategic planning and government attention to ensure sustained growth and economic resilience.
- Positive Business Environment: Estonia’s competitive corporate tax system was highlighted as one of the most significant positive aspects by nearly 57% of respondents. The responsiveness of the Estonian government to business concerns was also acknowledged by 83% of those surveyed.
- Policy Recommendations: Respondents suggested policy changes, including reducing the social tax, relaxing visa regulations to attract skilled labor, maintaining the flat income tax system, and improving cooperation between businesses and educational institutions.
- Foreign Direct Investment Screening Law: The survey also revealed that awareness of Estonia’s draft Foreign Direct Investment Screening Law was limited among respondents, indicating the need for more education on this upcoming legislation.
The FICE Executive Survey 2023 offers valuable insights into the perceptions and expectations of foreign investors and businesses operating in Estonia. It serves as a crucial resource for policymakers and stakeholders in shaping the future economic landscape of Estonia. FICE is making preparations for the 2024 survey, and it will be interesting to see how the situation for foreign investors will change during the course of this year.
About FICE: The Foreign Investors’ Council in Estonia (FICE) created in 2008 is an organization that represents the interests of foreign investors and businesses in Estonia. FICE serves as a platform for dialogue between foreign investors and the Estonian government, working to enhance Estonia’s business environment and competitiveness. The annual survey has been conducted since 2018.