West businesses must address growing skills gap, warns ICAEW

Tim Lincoln, Head of Office at Grant Thornton

Tim Lincoln, Head of Office at Grant Thornton

Over a third of businesses in the South-West region have reported that the availability of non-management skills is a greater challenge than a year ago, according to the latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton Business Confidence Monitor (BCM).

According to the BCM, 34% of companies reported that the availability of non-management skills is a rising challenge.

Key findings for Q4 2015 included a confidence index score of +16.6, a slight dip from +21.8 recorded a year ago.

The report also found sales volumes for companies in the region increased by 4.3% year-on-year, down from 4.8% in the same period in 2014. Turnover is forecast to grow by 5.9%, up from the 4% year-on-year increase recorded in the latest quarter

Businesses are planning to increase headcounts by 2.6% over the coming 12 months, a notable rise on the 1.6% growth recorded over the past year.

Tim Lincoln, Head of Practice at Grant Thornton South West commented:

“This quarter’s figures show that confidence has taken a slight dip as we approach the end of the year, but turnover is continuing to grow at a faster rate. As we look ahead to 2016, the focus should be on helping businesses continue to grow at a sustainable level and creating a vibrant economy, that helps dynamic businesses to thrive.

“Businesses in the South West are looking to increase employment levels over the next year, which is a great step forward for the local economy. However skills shortages, particularly in non-management skills, risk stifling the region’s growth and are a real concern to many businesses.”

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