Nearly half of region’s SMEs plan to take on staff

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The North West could see a rise in employment as nearly half of small and medium-sized enterprises in the region plan to take on new employees in the next 12 months, and more than half expect their turnover to grow.

According to a new HSBC Commercial Banking survey, North West SMEs are optimistic about growth and have a strong desire to recruit skilled, permanent staff to support increased activity.

Almost half of SMEs – 46 per cent – also believe that permanent, skilled staff will benefit the growth of their firm more than agency or casual staff.

Of the businesses in the North West surveyed, 53 per cent expect turnover growth in the next 12 months, with a third expecting growth of at least 6 per cent.

Chris Wormall, HSBC’s Head of Business Banking in the North, said: “This survey shows that SMEs in the North West are confident about growth, with half set to hire full-time staff to help them grow.

“Hiring and training skilled staff takes investment – which is why HSBC has committed £700 million to lend to SMEs in the North West this year and why we are running ‘Strategies for Growth’ workshops to help businesses in the region realise their ambitions.”

Some of the findings:

*53 per cent of SMEs in the North West expect turnover to grow in the next year, with 31 per cent expecting turnover growth of at least 6 per cent

*48 per cent of SMEs expect to add a full-time member of staff this year.

*46 per cent of SMEs believe permanent skilled staff are most likely to benefit their business – against only six per cent believing agency staff are best placed to assist them.

*Finding customers is the most pressing concern for all SMEs in the UK, while one in six SMEs say they are concerned by competition.

*Maintaining staff pay rises is a pressing issue for smaller SMEs in the UK, while labour and/or production costs are greater concerns for medium-sized enterprises.

The HSBC UK SME Market Survey was undertaken by Ipsos MORI between May 11 and May and June3. 1006 interviews were completed on the telephone.