Scots SMEs expect workforces and turnover to grow during next 12 months –HSBC



Alison McGregor
Alison McGregor

Results of a new survey conducted by HSBC has revealed that half of Scotland’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) intend to increase the size of their workforce over the next year.

The banking giant’s survey, carried out by Ipsos Mori, also found that than half of Scottish SMEs expect their turnover to grow over the same period.

The results will be seen as a further sign of improving optimism among small and medium-sized Scottish businesses as they come in the same week as official statistics confirmed rising levels of employment north of the Border.

Nearly half of the estimated 340,000 SMES across the country expect to hire at least one additional full-time member of staff in the coming 12 months, the research found, with a preference cited for permanent staff rather than temporary workers.

Alison McGregor, chief executive of HSBC in Scotland, noted that only 8 per cent of the SMES surveyed believed agency staff to be best-placed in helping to achieve their business goals.

“This survey shows that SMES in Scotland are confident about growth, with half set to hire fulltime staff to help them grow,” McGriegor said.

HSBC also reported that SMEs found locating customers as the most pressing concern for all SMES in the UK, while one out of six in Scotland cited competition as their main worry,.

Maintaining pay increases for workers was cited as the primary pressure on smaller UK SMES, while larger enterprises said they were weighed down by labour and production costs.

The survey comes just weeks after the Federation of Small Business reported that nearly two-thirds of its members aspire to grow at a moderate to rapid pace during the current quarter, the highest level ever recorded by the lobbying group’s index.

Further figures from the Clydesdale Bank suggest a rise in international sales during the coming year among those Scottish SMES that export.