UK business optimism soars by 74% over the past year

The level of business optimism across UK companies has soared by an impressive 74% over the course of 2013, the latest International Business Report (IBR) from Grant Thornton has revealed.

UK business optimism soars by 74% over the past year image 1

Figures obtained from the market research paper suggest that the level of optimism increased from -3% in Q4 2012 to 71% in Q4 2013, with the most notable rise being recorded between Q2 and Q3 2013 (42%).

Scott Barnes, CEO of Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented: “The rebound in confidence and sustained performance of UK businesses over the past year is something that can truly be applauded.

“The broad base of the recovery, largely driven by mid-market businesses, sets a solid foundation for growth to continue in 2014, but it remains crucial we don’t rest on our laurels at this critical juncture.

“To make the most of these gains and continue rebalancing the economy to ensure its fitness; business leaders are relying on policymakers to take the right actions which enable further growth – reducing red tape, increasing access to credit and assistance in exports. These measures would not only help embed long term, sustainable growth, but also further solidify the UK’s position as one of the world’s best places to do business.”

The increased level of business optimism also translates into better job prospects, with 45% of UK businesses expecting to hire people over the coming 12 months, compared to 28% in Q2. However, a number of companies participating in the survey (23%) are concerned about the lack of skilled workers acting as a restraint on business growth in the short term.

Mr. Barnes continued: “While the number of people employed in the UK is continuing to grow, business leaders are reporting there are not enough skilled workers. A business is nothing without its people and organisations need to invest in their internal development programmes and ensure they are more closely aligned to the business’ needs, enabling companies to deliver on their strategy, drive innovation and ultimately achieve growth.”

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