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UK And Ireland SME Confidence Peaks

Key findings:

  • 3 in 4 business leaders (74 per cent) expect the overall economic conditions in the UK and Ireland to improve in the next 12 months
  • 84 per cent of businesses anticipate revenues will improve in the next 12 months
  • A significant majority of firms (64 per cent) expect profitability to improve in the next 12 months
  • Over 2 in 3 business leaders (70 per cent) believe they will continue to hire new employees over the course of this year
  • Almost half (45 per cent) of UK and Irish businesses have the cash reserves to support their businesses for more than a year
  • 94 per cent of SMEs believe retaining existing staff as important or very important

Vistage, the world’s leading business performance and leadership advancement organisation for small and medium-size businesses, has found that over 3 in 4 (74 per cent) of SME leaders expect economic conditions to improve in the next year. The report has also found that a majority (84 per cent) of companies anticipate revenue will continue to improve in the same period of time.

SME leaders have identified talent acquisition and retention as a key business objective in the next few months with 98 per cent of CEOs saying they consider creating a strong organisational culture as important or very important. Furthermore, 91 per cent of businesses believe that attracting qualified talent as important or very important to their business.

Employee engagement is also a key priority for UK and Irish SMEs in in the next 12 months. Over 94 per cent of CEOs consider employee engagement to be important or very important. And a similar number of respondents (94 per cent) revealed that training and development is important or very important for their businesses’ success moving forward.

Work-from-home vs. Office
UK and Irish companies are making plans for a hybrid workforce. 75 per cent of companies will continue to offer employees the option to work from home in an effort to accommodate the growing workplace trend as well as to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Just over half (52 per cent) of firms also believe that the latest lockdown has had no impact on their business.

Vistage Managing Director (UK), Geoff Lawrence said: “The rapid rollout of the vaccine across the country has potentially led to business confidence hitting its highest levels. Our survey results suggests that SMEs in the UK and Ireland are due for a significant rebound as we enter the final stages of the current lockdown. Additionally, government support from furlough to business rates measures have had the intended effect of helping small businesses regain some stability in the current situation. We anticipate that although there is a long way to go before businesses can recover to pre-crisis levels, there is every indication that UK and Irish businesses can come back stronger and better.”

“SME leaders need to ensure they have revisited and revised their strategy and business models to exploit the expected growth in customer demand as well as to steal a march on their competitors. The marketplace has changed, and so must their business.”

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