UK mid-sized businesses report falling economic optimism while grappling with rising energy prices and supply chain challenges
London, January 11, 2023–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nearly three-quarters (74%) of UK mid-sized business leaders plan to increase or maintain Current headcount to achieve growth is posted today. While just under half (46%) of UK mid-sized business leaders are optimistic about the global economy in the year ahead, a 20% drop from 2022, and almost seven in 10 (69%) expect 2023 to recession, more than any other country surveyed in this year’s survey.
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Global Economic Optimism (Graphic: Business Wire)
“We know 2022 will be a challenging year for many businesses as they try to recover from the pandemic amid economic headwinds, and the coming year will bring its own set of challenges,” said JPMorgan UK Business Bank Business Director Catherine Pierre said. “However, it is heartening to see UK policymakers showing resilience by focusing on fighting recession and remaining optimistic about growth. This gives UK businesses hope that they will be able to weather the future storm, and grow stronger on the other side.”
In a survey of more than 300 senior executives from medium-sized UK companies, many felt confident in something they could control: their own company. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of business leaders say they are optimistic about their company’s performance, down 7% from 2022, and nearly nine in 10 (89%) expect their revenue to be in the Will increase or remain unchanged in the coming year.
Vis Raghavan, chief executive of JPMorgan Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “While optimism about the overall economy may have subsided, local policymakers are still charting a brighter future for expected business growth.” “UK business leaders Being pragmatic, they had to make strategic decisions with challenging choices based on the current game and future expectations.”
Energy prices threaten business success
While businesses focus on resiliency, they still worry about threats beyond their control.
number one threat: A quarter (25%) of respondents identified energy prices as the biggest external threat facing businesses, ahead of general market volatility (15%), debt costs and interest rates (13%) and competitive threats (11%).
business impact: Seven in 10 business leaders are concerned about inflation challenges and rising costs, reporting that rising energy costs are making doing business more expensive, far outweighing pressures from rising interest rates (53%) and rising raw material costs (56%).
consumer impact: With costs soaring due to inflation, nearly half (48%) say they have already had to raise prices. Many (68%) raised prices by 50%, and of those who had to, just under a quarter (22%) increased prices by between 51% and 75%.
Supply chain challenges lead to business change
While energy price issues dominate, supply chain issues remain.
supply chain madness: While some serious supply chain issues related to the pandemic and Brexit have faded from the headlines, nearly two-thirds (63%) of business leaders say supply chain stress has worsened in the last year. A similar number (62%) said that increased costs related to supply chain issues were driving up business costs.
near horn: As supply chain concerns worsen throughout the year, an increasing number of UK businesses are taking decisive action to address the issue, with nearly half (42%) moving manufacturing and distribution closer to their key markets, compared to 2022 increased by 12%.
other adjustments: Nearly half (46%) are allocating more money now to cover rising product shipping costs, a 10% increase over 2022, and just under a third (32%) are taking strategic stockpiling to address the problem.
The rise of the “S” in ESG
Business leaders have a wide range of considerations, and the focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures remains strong. In fact, social concerns surrounding employees and customers are now matched by concerns about environmental issues.
Greater focus on social standards: Social factors such as customer satisfaction, workplace health and safety, and data privacy are reported by 56% as important to their business strategy, a 25% increase from 2022. They now rank as high as environmental factors (56%), such as reducing carbon emissions and energy efficiency.
benefit: The most frequently cited reason for focusing on corporate responsibility is to improve employee retention (52%). Mentioned almost as often was the desire to strengthen the company’s presence in the community (51%) and to increase marketing and find new customers (49%).
Business transformation declines as leaders persevere through tough times
The number of leaders who do not intend to sell or transfer ownership of their companies in the next year has increased significantly to 45%, a 16% increase from 2022.
future plans: Of those considering a full or partial transfer, more than half (56%) seek to do so through a sale or gift to family, and 74% expect the transfer to be completed within the next two years, a 24% increase from 2022.
For more information on the Business Leaders Outlook 2023, visit jpmorgan.com/business-outlook-GBR.
JPMorgan’s Outlook Survey of Business Leaders will be conducted online from November 21 to December 8, 2022. A total of 306 business leaders (CEOs, CFOs, Treasurers and owners) from medium-sized UK companies (with annual revenues ranging from £20 million to £2 billion) across a range of industries participated in the survey. The results were within the statistical parameters of validity with an error rate of +/- 5.6% at a 95% confidence level.
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