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54% SMEs expect to increase their workforce

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This is likely due to an increase in SME confidence despite the slowdown in the economic recovery that has been seen over recent months.

Those in the IT, mining, energy and construction sectors have been particularly positive about job growth. The report suggests that this is because “of the amount of projects that had been on hold”. 

Meanwhile, companies in the arts, sports and recreation (27 per cent), catering and accommodation (36 per cent) and education (40 per cent) sectors are least likely to create more jobs.

However, many businesses think that additional employment regulation will have a negative impact on their business. 48 per cent believe the new statutory right for employees to request flexible working will harm their business.

Firms are also concerned that regulation to increase paternity leave and pay (60 per cent); shared paternity and maternity leave (47 per cent) and pension auto-enrolment (32 per cent) will have a negative impact on their business.

“Businesses are flexible in their working arrangements, recognising that the wellbeing of their workforce improves business productivity and in turn, has a positive impact on growth,” said John Longworth, Director General of the BCC. “However, it is clear that businesses are concerned that additional employment regulation, which can be time consuming and costly, will affect their bottom line and hamper future jobs growth.”

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