Retaining workers is an increasing headache for employers, says new study

Dec 06, 2015

The skills gap in businesses across the East of England is also growing and employers are taking steps to address the issue.

The latest Business Confidence Monitor compiled by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and business adviser Grant Thornton reveals that almost one in three companies in the region say staff turnover is an escalating problem.

Yet their confidence remains positive, although only +13.1 for the last quarter compared to +23.9 a year ago.

ICAEW regional director Phillippa Bourne said: “The increase in hiring in the East of England is likely to have contributed to an acceleration in salary growth despite inflation standing at near zero levels for much of 2015.”

The Business Confidence Monitor also found:
  • Turnover has grown by 6% year-on-year in the latest quarter, up from the 5.4% in the same period a year earlier;
  • Overseas sales rose by 2% this year, down from 3.5% rise recorded during 2014;
  • Hiring has increased by 3%, up from 2.3% in Q4 2014
  • Salary growth in the region has accelerated to 2.7% from 1.9% a year ago. Spending on staff development has also risen in the past 12 months.

Philippa Bourne said: “I am encouraged that spending on staff development has also risen. While increasing this investment may place pressure on businesses in the short term, it will bolster prospects over the medium term as businesses retain skilled and experienced staff.

“This in turn should boost productivity, a key driver of economic growth.”

Kevin Gale, partner and practice leader at Grant Thornton in Milton Keynes, added: “Business confidence can be a fickle, unpredictable measure. While the latest report is interesting, I am particularly reassured by the actual sales and profit measures it identifies, which are both up compared to the same period of 2014. 

“Yes, there are challenges and uncertainties out there but a recent poll of business leaders at our Buckinghamshire Ltd event showed that over 90% are forecasting top line growth in the next 12 months, with a quarter of participants expecting turnover to increase by more than 10%.” 

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