- The Growth Company (GC) Situation Report, October 2023, includes detailed information on the economy, as well as the results of the GC Survey and Business Confidence Index.
- Business confidence remains steady (7.4/10) compared to the previous month.
- 24% of firms reported increased sales in the last month, with 61% expecting increased profits for the year, both figures higher than last month (20% and 58%).
- 82% of firms have cash reserves for over 6 months, while 14% report cashflow issues.
- 26% (versus 29%) of firms are recruiting new staff, with 17% (versus 18%) experiencing difficulties in recruitment.
- Half of firms report partial workforce skill gaps, with specific technical and personal skills lacking. 38% of firms planned for a workforce development investment.
The GC Situation Report, October 2023, contains leading economic data from both local and national sources. This month’s survey findings are based on responses from 105 firms recorded between 2nd October to 3rd November.
Here are the headline figures and trends of the latest economic development:
Business Confidence and Investment
- Business confidence remains steady (7.4/10) compared to the previous month, and broadly similar to the average for the last year. Business confidence varies by sector, with the highest confidence in green and construction sectors.
- 38% (vs 40%) of firms expect to increase Capex spend in the year ahead. 38% (vs 42%) of firms expect to increase their allocation towards investing in workforce development and skills, innovation (40% vs 41%), and business model change (41% vs 37%).
Sales and Cashflow
- 24% (vs 20% previously) of firms reported that they experienced an increase in sales in the last month, and 61% expect profits to increase (vs 58%).
- 82% (vs 84%) of firms reported that they have cash reserves to last over 6 months. 60% of SMEs with 10-249 employees have cash reserves to last over 6 months. Reserves were highest in green tech (100%), health & social care (100%), and hospitality (100%).
- 14% (vs 10%) of firms said they had cashflow problems. Micro-size firms (<5 employees) were more likely to report cashflow issues compared to SMEs (10-249 FTEs). The hospitality and retail and wholesale sectors were the most likely to report cashflow problems.
Recruitment and Redundancies
- 26% (vs 29% previously) of firms surveyed are currently recruiting new staff. 17% (vs 18%) said they had difficulties recruiting.
- The main job categories companies were looking to fill were: customer facing roles (38% vs 40%), managerial roles (14% vs 16%), and other roles ‘not elsewhere classified’ (10% vs 11%).
- 2% (vs 2%) of firms said they were in the process of considering making redundancies.
- 50% (vs 58%) of firms said that their workforce skills were only ‘partly’ at the level to meet business plan objectives.
- The main technical skill gaps identified were: specialist technical skills (33%), knowledge of products/services (11%), solving complex problems (7%), and advanced specialist IT skills (6%).
- The main people and personal skill gaps identified were: client sales (16%), customer handling (8%), the ability to manage time (12%), and managing/motivating staff (12%).
Workforce and Skills Development
- 38% (vs 42%) of firms said they were looking to increase investment in workforce development in the next 12 months, 55% (vs 50%) said they thought investment levels would remain the same, and 7% (vs 3%) were unsure.
- 47% of those surveyed stated they were actively seeking to increase the diversity of their workforce through recruitment and progression practices (vs. 52% previously). Meanwhile, 27% said they were likely to do so in the future, which is the same as last month.
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