Employees across the Midlands look set to benefit from growing economic optimism as a survey by employment specialists The HR Dept. finds 58.3% of almost 900 SMEs surveyed are planning to take on staff over the next six months, a rise of around 20% from just two years ago.
Sara Abbott, Director for The HR Dept., North Birmingham, said: “The picture here in the Midlands is a reflection of the national results to our extensive survey and clearly demonstrates that despite global economic worries, there is growing confidence in the strength of the UK economy.
“Job losses at the largest employers always grab the headlines, but SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and expectations of increased recruitment across all sectors by small businesses is great news for those seeeking work.
“As might be expected with confidence returning to the market, our survey shows an 8.3% year-on-year fall in respondents using redundancy services, with just 32.7% of respondents in 2015 requiring assistance from our specialists.
“Our survey also highlighted good news for those currently in work, with almost two thirds (66.2%) of responding companies planning pay rises in 2015. Over a third (34.7%) of respondents expected to raise salaries by up to two per cent this year, with over a quarter (27.8%) opting for between two and five per cent and 3.7% promising pay rises of over five per cent.
“With inflation having fallen since 2011 and currently hovering around zero per cent, it is encouraging to see that two thirds of companies across the region are planning, or have implemented, a salary increase this year.
“The results suggest rising living standards for employees of small businesses and their families, which is not only great news for them, but also the businesses, as wage rises are likely to increase employee retention and profitability.
“For SMEs, the HR challenges in particular are growing all the time, but the news appears encouraging as the wage rise figures combined with the statistics on recruitment and falling redundancy, demonstrate that small businesses are finding life a little more comfortable.”
The HR Dept is itself an example of a growing small business. Founded in 2003, it provides the full range of HR advice and practical support to small business owners who need corporate level HR advice provided by experienced professionals, but without the cost of an agency or permanent in-house employment.
Abbott continues: “The response to our annual customer survey was overwhelmingly positive with an overall satisfaction score of 9.27 out of 10 for all aspects of The HR Dept’s services, with a rating of 9.4 out of 10 for likelihood to recommend services to other businesses.
“Across the UK and Ireland The HR Dept. is growing rapidly in response to the growth and expansion of SMEs, as well as new legislative changes like Shared Parental Leave. As SMEs grow, so does their need for reliable expert HR advice that allows them to leave employment matters to us, whilst they concentrate on what they do best. And that’s clearly good for the local economy.”