A survey of almost 500 Irish private sector executives shows one in four of them have applied for positions in the public sector over the past three years. The research was carried out by executive search firm Merc Partners. 

Managing partner of Merc Ireland, Ruth Curran, says that over half of the participants in their survey believe that their career prospects in the past year have improved while a third feel they have stayed the same. But one of the most interesting findings from the survey was the fact that 25% of respondents had applied for a position in the public sector in the past three years, while a significant number also said they were interested in serving on a state board. Ruth Curran says, however, that not many executives acted on that because they felt they would not get the job because of a lack of political affiliations, while others were concerned about negative publicity and time constraints.

Ms Curran says the process of hiring new executives is a rigourous one which is very research driven and which has both national and international scope. She says that company executives are now more optimistic, while that optimism is tinged with realism as the economic recovery continues. The food, pharmaceutical and ICT sectors are doing well in recent months, while Irish companies with an international presence are also performing strongly. 

MORNING BRIEFS - Dalata Hotel Group has confirmed its intention to list on the ESM of the Irish Stock Exchange and the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange before the end of March. The company, which is the largest hotel operator in Ireland, aims to raise between €150-200m through a placing of shares . The proceeds, it says, will be used in part to pay down some of its debt but primarily to fund the acquisition of between 16 and 25 Irish hotels. 

*** Aer Lingus regional, which is operated by Aer Arann, carried just under 80,000 passengers in January an increase of 23% on the same month last year. Routes into and out of Dublin, from where Aer Lingus Regional serves cities such as Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh, were the main driver of growth. Passenger numbers on Dublin routes were up 43% year on year. Aer Lingus has been using the regional service to attract UK passengers onto transAtlantic routes out of Ireland.

A report co-authored by New York University Stern Business School Professor Rosa Abrantes Metz strongly suggests that the gold market been the subject of manipulation over the past decade. The research carries a lot of weight. A paper the Professor wrote in 2008 led to the worldwide investigation into interest-rate rigging by banks that has, so far, resulted in fines of $6 billion across a range of institutions. She has now taken an in-depth look at the setting of what is known as the "London gold fix". That is a benchmark price set each day by a group of five banks. The paper looks at unusual gold trading patterns over a period of years. It suggests the banks may have been colluding to manipulate the fix for their own benefit.

*** Independent News and Media chief executive Vincent Crowley will step down from his position and resign as a director of the company over the coming months. In a statement, INM said that Mr Crowley would remain in his role until the process to appoint a new CEO was complete. As chief executive since 2012, he led the restructuring effort at INM which has seen it raise new equity, sell assets and refinance its debt. Over that period INM's net debt has fallen from about €0.5 billion to €118m.