15November2019

You are here: Home Latest news Latest news stories All News Business News Hertfordshire Businesses Look To Invest In Uncertain Market, Says New Survey
Hertfordshire Limited: L-R Jeremy Read, Grant Thornton, Keith Thompson, CEO of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, Dr Sally Ann Forsythe, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chair of the Hertfordshire LEP Hertfordshire Limited: L-R Jeremy Read, Grant Thornton, Keith Thompson, CEO of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, Dr Sally Ann Forsythe, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Adrian Hawkins, Deputy Chair of the Hertfordshire LEP
31 January 2019

Hertfordshire Businesses Look To Invest In Uncertain Market, Says New Survey

The majority of Hertfordshire businesses plan to invest in recruitment and new technologies to drive growth in an uncertain market, according to a new poll from financial and business advisers Grant Thornton.

The survey of local companies was conducted at the recent Hertfordshire Limited event when Grant Thornton unveiled the results of its annual analysis of the 200 top performing businesses in the county. This year's study found local firms continue to thrive with increases in turnover, profitability and employment.

Results from the event poll reveal hiring new people (36%) and investing in new technologies (29%) will be the main focus for businesses to sustain growth over the next 12 months. This was followed by exports driven by the lower value of sterling (18%), capital expenditure (11%) and acquisitions (7%).

However, the survey highlighted the continued uncertainty facing local firms as Britain's exit from the EU draws closer with no agreed deal in place.

This was evident when they were asked how business conditions compare to 12 months ago as there was a clear divide with 30% of companies saying they are more difficult, 30% saying they were more positive and 21% feeling they remain the same.

Commenting on the poll findings, Jeremy Read from Grant Thornton St Albans said: "Hertfordshire has a strong business community and the focus on investment shows firms are not shying away from making key decisions. It also suggests a confidence for the future as they look to ensure they have the people and infrastructure in place to sustain growth.

"However, with just a few months to go until we leave the EU and still no clear sense of what our future trading relationship will be, local businesses continue to highlight the uncertainty affecting us all. But this should not stop all organisations from planning ahead, taking account of all likely scenarios and getting 'match fit' to ensure they can best navigate the road ahead."

The focus on investment in new talent will likely increase competition in the recruitment market so business also need to think creatively about how this challenge can be overcome.

When asked how the skills shortage could be addressed, the poll found offering an attractive employment package, such as flexible working, was seen as the most important factor (33%). This was closely followed by demonstrating good career prospects (30%), making use of the Apprenticeship Levy to upskill employees (22%) and establishing better relationships between schools, colleges and businesses (15%).

Jeremy added: "For several years now, local businesses have highlighted the issue of attracting and retaining the talent and skills they need to support growth. Those who succeed will move beyond monetary incentives and instead focus more on the demands of a modern workforce such as enhanced parental leave, agile working and pension packages.

"Hertfordshire also needs to continue to develop to keep attracting talented people to the region. From speaking with local businesses, it was interesting that greater collaboration, alongside improving transport infrastructure and further strengthening the business community were seen as key areas of focus. It is clear that we all need to work together to achieve these ambitions and help secure an increasingly progressive and productive future for the region's economy."



Login to post comments

Want to use our news streams?

  • If you would like to embed our news stream on your own site there are two ways of accomplishing this.

    Read more...

 

 

SPONSORS

tw-logo