Are you amongst the hopeful 40 per cent?

Two out of five SMEs are predicting growth in the next six months, according to a survey conducted by business software provider Sage.

With SMEs accounting for around 60 per cent of the UK workforce, many experts believe that small businesses are the key to economic recovery. The good news is that, considering the economic climate, these results sound rather promising.

This summer, the Sage UK Omnibus surveyed 1,500 SMEs from its 800,000-strong UK customer base in order to assess their aspirations for the short-term. Other findings included the good news that 30 per cent of businesses are on the lookout for new employees over the next six months.

Despite the annual mass output of graduates from UK universities in recent weeks, only five per cent of those employed by the surveyed SMEs are expected to be university leavers – most businesses favour experienced workers instead. And interestingly, 61 cent will not be offering up internships to the experience-hungry graduates, either.

Encouraged by the new statistics forecasting growth, Brendan Flattery, MD of Sage’s small business division adds:

“Increasing a firm in size can be a delicate challenge for any company, and it appears that SMEs are prioritising recruiting people who have gained real work experience.

“However, with BIS suggesting that SMEs make up 99.9% of the UK’s 4.8 million businesses and account for nearly two thirds of the UK’s workforce, the research also highlights the very real challenge facing graduates looking for employment straight out of university.”

With a reported 70 students chasing every job available, SMEs have been advised that they could both benefit and contribute to the improvement of the economic climate by providing graduates with vital experience, test-driving these potential future new employees.

Are you hiring any new workers or hiring recent graduates? Why/why not? We’d be keen to hear from you.

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