Business development Carly Hacon · 12 April 2018
SME confidence hits its highest level since 2015
Research of 1, 000 SME owners from Bibbly Financial Services (BFS) shows that SME confidence levels have rebounded to 2015 levels. Half of SMEs are expecting to see sales rise between April and June this year. This has jumped by 13 per cent compared with the expectations for the first three months of the year. Commenting on the findings, BFS CEO, Edward Winterton, said: This has resulted in a marked increase in SME confidence, which is long overdue following two years of tumbling confidence and subdued investment. Over the next three months, 41 per cent of SMEs are planning to invest in training and developing existing staff, whilst a quarter of SMEs are planning to bring in new talent. it is clear that even limited clarity over Brexit – and some compromise on behalf of both the UK and the EU following recent negotiations – has had a calming effect on SMEs, added Winterton. However, recruiting specialist skills remains a key concern for SMEs in 2018. With near record-low levels of unemployment, 27 per cent of SMEs are struggling to hire skilled workers, and 23 per cent say they have had to increase wages to retain existing skills. With many firms reliant on overseas workers, there are concerns that the issue will be compounded when the UK leaves the EU next year Despite rising confidence, 43 per cent of SMEs say that the uncertain economic environment surrounding Brexit are holding back future investment. Over a third of SME owners would support calls for the UK to remain in both the Single Market and Customs Union, regardless of the Government’s pledge to leave both.
ABOUT THE EXPERTCarly Hacon
Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.