Jobs: Business confidence ‘rebuilding’ across Beds, Herts and Bucks - survey

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Companies in Beds, Herts and Bucks expect to employ more people in the next 12 months.

That’s one of the findings of the latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM).

The survey found companies in the region reported employment growth of 2.0 per cent in the past 12 months and predict a similar 2.2 per cent growth in the next 12 months.

The survey authors say the combination of continued private sector employment growth and limited exposure to public sector job losses is likely to keep local labour market conditions relatively buoyant.The East of England has the lowest dependency on public sector jobs of any region, with just 17 per cent of workers employed by the state at the end of 2011.

But the BCM supports the view that the economy in Beds, Bucks and Herts is still relatively weak and stands well below the highs of 2010 with economic recovery still very fragile.

Pippa Bourne, regional director at the accountancy and finance organisation ICAEW East England said: “Although there has been a large increase in confidence there is still an air of fragility to the region’s economy. Government and business support agencies need to harness businesses’ increasing optimism about the region’s economic future and turn it into sustainable, consistent growth. To squander it could consign the signs of growth in our economy to stagnation for the immediate future.”

Malcolm Gomersall, managing partner at Grant Thornton said: “Any improvement in the key performance indicators in the Business Confidence Monitor is positive. Turnover and profits are all increasing but nowhere near the rate seen pre-recession and businesses are beginning to realise that this environment may be the norm for some time. However, we are working with dynamic companies that are delivering high growth in both domestic and global markets, so businesses must continue to look for opportunities.”

But the survey authors point out that there are significant risks to economic stability. These include high oil prices, the continued eurozone sovereign debt crisis, elections in France and Greece and continued high unemployment in Spain.