Skills shortage holds back small businesses
Monday 24 October 1994
The report, Bridging the Skills Gap, reveals that, although 57 per cent of small businesses between three and ten years old plan to grow over the next two years, many may fail to fulfil their potential because of the absence of appropriate skills.
The small business sector is increasingly being hailed as a source of strength within the economy. But, Barclays says, only 4 per cent of all businesses in Britain have an annual turnover of more than pounds 1m and only 11 per cent export.
Owners of small businesses rely heavily on the experience gained in previous employment, according to the research, which covered a nationally representative sample of 600 firms. Only 19 per cent of owners had any specific sales or marketing skills and just 14 per cent had financial skills.
Moreover, the importance of day-to-day problems in restricting growth is demonstrated by 54 per cent of owners saying lack of time was the biggest management constraint on future expansion.
But despite these weaknesses - and 69 per cent of owners believing that training was important to future success, only 23 per cent of small businesses invested in training during their first three years of trading.
Those that did train tended to focus on activities specific to their sector rather than on general management.
The management problems are compounded by the difficulties these businesses have in attracting skilled workers. Just under half of small businesses would like to increase their staff in the next two years, but a third report that finding the right people is the biggest barrier to this.
Barclays says that if small businesses' survival and growth rates are to be improved, it is vital that owners seek and use more advice and training. The bank - which claims to be in the forefront of recent initiatives to encourage training - says that reluctance to take this route can be overcome by building a close partnership between businesses, banks and providers of advice.
David Lavarack, the bank's head of small business services, said: 'In an increasingly competitive economy, being able to stay one step ahead of the competition is not just a prerequisite for survival, but essential for growth. Small businesses, with limited financial resources, have to rely heavily on the quality of their people to differentiate themselves.
Maintaining this advantage can only be achieved through a commitment to continual training and advice.'
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
The ten coldest places on Earth
Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£45000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Technical Impl...
£65000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Rogue Trading ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading, Cit...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Data Analyst -...