Recruitment cited as one of the biggest challenges for business leaders.
Business Census identifies challenges for year ahead.
A census of business leaders’ expectations for the year ahead has suggested that challenges related to recruitment and the national economy will be the biggest obstacles facing UK companies. The report, compiled by global credit company Creditsafe spoke to 755 business leaders across the UK, and found that a fifth of businesses expect their biggest business challenge to be recruitment.
For those that suggested recruitment will be their biggest challenge for the year ahead, the responses suggested that those businesses aged between 0 and 2 years were expected to be the hardest hit. In spite of this, 56 per cent of businesses expect to increase their headcount in 2019 – though 83 per cent did not choose to employ a graduate in the previous year.
Furthermore, almost half of respondents (42 per cent) expect the economy to pose the biggest risk to their company in 2019, with 17 per cent of people suggesting that politics would provide the greatest hurdle. When asked about the health of the nation’s finances, 1 in 3 business leaders said they were not optimistic about the UK’s economic growth in 2019, with 40 per cent unsure as to how the economic climate will develop.
Speaking of the results, Creditsafe’s UK CEO Chris Robertson said: “It’s been a memorable year for businesses in Britain, with Brexit dominating the media headlines and uncertainty around our role in the EU still rife.
“The Business Census is intended to provide a snapshot of the state of UK business based on experience, as opposed to just statistics,” he continued. “The impact of economic uncertainty on the optimism of business leaders for 2019 will undoubtedly gain the attention of business bodies and the government, who should take note of these less tangible, yet still important, impacts of their actions.”
Looking closer at the results, 35 per cent of businesses surveyed said that Brexit had already had a negative impact for them, with more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of larger businesses (over 500 employees) surveyed reporting negative effects. Half of businesses questioned also said they felt their local government was not doing a good enough job of supporting business growth.
The Census also found that 69 per cent of UK businesses have been affected by bad debt, and 37 per cent have been victims of fraud. Just three per cent of UK businesses expect blockchain to play a role in their company’s growth in 2019, mirroring industry concerns that disillusionment with the technology could lead to a ‘blockchain winter’.
With environmental concerns also dominating the press, a surprising 51 per cent of businesses surveyed do not plan to invest financially in environmental initiatives in 2019. Despite their fears, 90 per cent of UK businesses expects to grow in 2019.
UK economic growth has been under pressure since a strong performance this summer, with the Bank of England expecting a 0.2 per cent increase in GDP for the final three months of 2018 and forecasting a similar rate for the first quarter of 2019.