Thanks to optimism from the rollout of the vaccination programme, UK SMEs can expect to hire 1.2m staff over the next year.
Renewed optimism is driving these hiring plans, with the added ambition for SMES to prioritise employee wellbeing and grow workforce diversity. In the UK, there will now be a focus on changing working ways and improving employee wellness, with almost 40 per cent looking to better their physical health.
Due to increased consumer confidence and better efficiency, research from Sage has shown that businesses should expect to return to pre-coronavirus profitability by the end of 2021.
75 per cent of SMEs are positive about the future of their business and growth potential over the coming year. This optimism is predominantly steered by the rollout of the vaccination programme (45 per cent), seeing customers again (35 per cent), and predictions of increased consumer spending (32 per cent). Over 80 per cent do not believe there will be another lockdown, with many foreseeing a return to pre-coronavirus profitability and staffing levels this summer. A massive 79 per cent of SMEs are confident that they will return to profitability by the summer.
The ability to adapt has been essential during the pandemic, with many SMEs commenting they coped well with the challenges of COVID-19 and made appropriate changes as a result. Over a third of SMEs had to cut costs due to financial difficulties and 25 per cent said they had to use their own savings to make it through.
CEO of Sage Group, Steve Hare, has commented on this matter: “As the economic environment improves, optimism amongst our customers is increasing and as is their confidence to capitalise on the opportunities ahead. SMEs are accelerating investment in people and digital technology, prioritising flexibility, resilience, and productivity. This is a clear sign they will bring the bounce back into the economy, and why they need to be at the heart of any recovery plans.”
“We must make sure this swell of optimism is given the opportunity to become a tidal wave of growth. We have called on governments for support and investment to accelerate the recovery of SMEs during these difficult times and made our own investments in supporting an SME led recovery.”
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