Sage, the accountancy software firm, has published a new report that shows 62% of small and medium business in the UK (SMEs) have already or are planning to make redundancies as staff come off furlough schemes and SMEs reopen for business. This total could equate to up to 1.4m jobs being at risk if the UK Government doesn't decisive action now.
The Survival, Resilience and Growth report published by Sage, also revealed that as the economy slowly recovers it is likely to mean a significant restructuring of the workforce as many managerial roles and London jobs seem to be the most at risk.
Despite the negative outlook that is being portrayed around the globe, Sage’s report revealed that UK SMEs generally feel positive and resilient about the future, with some going as far to make bold changes to improve processes and productivity, open up new markets and focussing on how they can improve their relationships with current customers. As many as 75% are so positive about the future that they are expecting to be profitable by June 2021.
The report also highlighted that 80% of SMEs think digital adoption will be critical for an enterprise-led recovery and job creation, but only a small proportion (33%) have the bandwidth to invest in technology across key business processes. These businesses would benefit from support to invest in technology, with 40% saying that a technology grant from the Government would allow them to increase hiring.
Sabby Gill, Managing Director of Sage UK and Ireland, said:
“In the words of one of our customers, the insights in this report are a ‘gut wrenching’ read. Behind the stark statistics lie thousands of individual stories of people whose livelihoods and passions are under threat. Businesses have had to radically change their plans and strategies, adapting to unprecedented ways of working. But this has created the potential to drive up productivity, especially where processes have been digitised.
“We have some tough months ahead with many unknowns so if we can help businesses access finance and technology and reduce exposure to risk, we will see new jobs emerging.
“The measures announced by the Chancellor are encouraging but we need to go further. Sage, on behalf of the country’s SMEs, is calling on the government to act now and take a three pronged approach to aid digital adoption, help to boost exports and provide tailored support that encourages entrepreneurialism by equipping the unemployed with essential business skills.”