SMEs upbeat but recruitment causes sleepless nights
At the same time, those who do say they have concerns identify finding skilled staff as the most common anxiety.
The new report, produced in conjunction with YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr),* shows that a third (33%) of SMEs plan to take on more staff within the next year, a very positive sign for the UK job market. However, 36 per cent of medium sized businesses and 14 per cent of smaller companies said that finding the right staff is causing them sleepless nights. Late payments, rising costs and competition with other businesses were also key concerns for business decision makers.
Cost inflation for UK SMEs fell slightly from 0.9 per cent in Q4 2014 to 0.7 per cent in Q1 2015. But still, the figure remains positive, meaning that costs for SMEs rose on a year-on-year basis. Purchases of physical inputs and labour accounted for the majority of this increase in cost, yet SMEs remain focused on growth with 37 per cent planning to launch new products and services in the coming 12 months.
Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director - Business Finance at Aldermore said:
“We entered 2015 on a weak note with GDP expanding by just 0.3 per cent, compared to 0.6 per cent in Q4 2014 SMEs in the UK have not had an easy ride but they are clearly in robust shape and confident about their futures.
“The labour market has tightened significantly over the past year, with unemployment having fallen to 5.5 per cent, the lowest since 2008 so it is no surprise that finding new staff has become more of a challenge for SMEs. However, needing more staff can be a great problem to have and it’s certainly good news for the UK economy.”
Cebr Managing Economist Rob Harbron said, “UK unemployment is falling back to near pre financial crisis levels, bringing with it the challenge of skills shortages. However despite these, it’s encouraging to see a large share of the SME population hoping to take on more staff. With low cost inflation supporting bottom lines, 2015 as a whole is looking to be a positive year for the private sector.”