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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

UKCES: Young businesses focusing on people and skills

Businesses born in the recession are demonstrating greater commitment to developing their people, according to a survey by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

The UK Commission Employer Perspectives Survey of 15,000 employers, published today found that almost half of private sector employers expect their business to grow over the next 12 months (47 per cent) with only one in ten predicting it would contract over the forthcoming year.

A staggering 71 per cent of young businesses (between one and three years old) are optimistic about their future, compared with only 44 per cent of older businesses (those over three years old), while around 80 per cent of young growth businesses have recruited new staff in the past year - almost double the overall figure of 43 per cent.

The findings of the UK Commission Employer Perspectives Survey will be welcomed by graduates and other young people, who are often advised to seek the security of a well-established blue chip company for their first job, yet find such positions hard to come by.

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills said: "It's often hard, starting out, to find a job.  In the current economic climate that's harder still, but this research suggests there are opportunities in places and with employers that young people may not focus on immediately.

"These are still early findings, but they bear out what many successful entrepreneurs say, that the best time to start a business is in a recession. These young businesses tend to have a resilient and entrepreneurial attitude.  In effect, they are making their own luck and resetting the benchmark of exactly what it means to be a successful business. They understand the skills of their staff are a source of competitive advantage and are investing in them for the long term."

The report also finds that:

Growing businesses are more likely to offer apprenticeships with 16 per cent offering formal apprenticeships compared to 13 per cent of all establishmentsNearly all young growth business provide training for their staff (90 per cent, compared with 73 per cent overall)Young growth businesses are much more likely to recruit young people (47 per cent, compared with 27 per cent overall)Young growth businesses are much more likely to offer apprenticeships and other formal vocational qualifications

Sean Taggart is a commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and led a management buy-out of his company, Albatross Group of Travel Companies, in 2008, a week after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

He said: "This is all about new businesses being set up and grown in ways that specifically take advantage of the opportunities that the 'new normal' is creating, something that we certainly recognise within Albatross. This survey appears to show, in particular, how agile and resourceful new businesses are being in delivering growth through their people.

"When you're a young, small company every minute and every person counts.  So making sure that your team is equipped and competent to get the best out of every opportunity is top of any successful entrepreneur's to-do list."


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