Confident UK entrepreneurs forecasting workforce growth

UK entrepreneurs expect to grow their workforce by 11 per cent and expect 12 per cent of new hires to be young people in their first jobs.

In terms of where they will look for talent, UK entrepreneurs anticipate that 71 per cent of all hires will be in the UK, 29 per cent in overseas markets and that 15 per cent of all domestic vacancies will be filled by overseas candidates.

The majority of UK entrepreneurs feel confident about the UK economy. Nearly 70 per cent also feel confident about the direction of the global economy, a significant improvement on last year when only just over half felt confident.

Stuart Watson, UK EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme Leader said: “UK entrepreneurs are in a good place with rising confidence in the domestic and global economy underpinning plans to hire more than last year. It is particularly encouraging to see entrepreneurs’ plans to create growth and opportunity for young people, with four fifths of British entrepreneurs saying young people were important to their growth strategy.

“The disruptive force of technology is transforming individual companies and creating entirely new sectors. In this environment, entrepreneurs are pivotal drivers of global job creation, and in some cases are navigating economic and political uncertainty better than established players.

“Technology is also transforming some of the most fundamental aspects of how we do business. This evolution will change what job skills are needed, which new businesses are created, it will impact our education systems and will challenge our regulatory systems.”

Customers will be key to entrepreneurs’ success

Almost half of UK entrepreneurs said their growth was primarily achieved organically and 30 per cent driven largely by merger, acquisition or alliance.

Rather than focusing on deals, entrepreneurs see generating new business as both their top priority and biggest challenge in the year ahead, with 27 per cent in the UK saying that identifying, attracting and serving new customers is their biggest challenge.

Watson says: “Finding new customers is a key challenge for entrepreneurs in the UK. But it’s not the only one. We know from our work with entrepreneurs around the world that they have the best chance of success when they operate inside a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem. To succeed entrepreneurs need an environment where governments, large businesses and entrepreneurs can work closely together to create the right conditions for entrepreneurship to thrive.”

Billion dollar female entrepreneurs

EY’s survey found female entrepreneurs to be 19 per cent more likely to be running US$1b companies than men. Of the companies surveyed, 5 per cent of male entrepreneurs led US$1b companies, compared to 6.2 per cent of female entrepreneurs.

When it comes to hiring, globally, female entrepreneurs are anticipating an average growth rate of 10.9 per cent in the next year compared to 8.3 per cent among men.

Joanna Santinon, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Partner said: “There are signs that women entrepreneurs are fast becoming leading job creators. This is extremely encouraging as entrepreneurship has long been a route to employment and business success for many women despite the enduring gender gap.”

Disruption and innovation pay dividends for entrepreneurs and employment
Interestingly, the survey clearly shows that the more disruptive and innovative the company, the more people they hire and the faster they do it.

Globally, the most disruptive entrepreneurs – the 17 per cent of respondents who say they have changed all or many of the rules in their sector – are 58 per cent more likely to forecast an increase in their overall workforce in 2016 compared to their more conventional competitors.

Innovative entrepreneurs who say they have created an entirely new product or service in the past year, have similar hiring plans. They are 95% more likely to expect to grow their workforce in the next year compared to those who have not created a new product or service.

Watson says: “The results of our survey validate what we have known for some time. Disruptors and innovators are likely to hire more and faster than others, enabling them to blaze a stronger growth trail in today’s fast moving and transformative business environment. These findings may be a warning to established businesses that they risk being left behind if they are not embracing innovation and planning for rapid change.”