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THE city’s business community has every right to feel confident about the next 12 months, judging by the results of the 2015 Greater Peterborough Business Survey.
Almost 60% of respondents reported increased turnover during the last 12 months – up 12 per cent on the previous year – and confidence is high that those positive trends will continue throughout 2015 with 112 companies (65%) expecting further growth and profitability.
The survey, jointly organised between city accountancy firm Rawlinsons and economic development company Opportunity Peterborough, was designed to test the temperature of the local economy specifically in Greater Peterborough rather than Cambridgeshire as a whole.
The 185 survey respondents came from a cross section of business sectors with the highest proportion from professional services, manufacturing, media, retail and construction. 55% of respondents have operated here for over 15 years. About 68 per cent of companies employed between one and 20 staff. Company turnovers ranged from below £100,000 up to in excess of £10,000,000.
“What comes out from this 2015 survey is that there is growing confidence in the economy and in the city’s ability to deliver continued success. Companies sound increasingly confident about revenue growth and profitability – which bodes well for the next 12 months,” said Chris Collier, senior partner at Rawlinsons.
Last year only 33% of respondents expected to be taking on more staff but this year that figure has risen to 42% – another surefire indication that confidence is growing.
The one area of apparent concern is the availability of skilled staff – across most of the sectors surveyed. Indeed it was the biggest concern for all respondents. 57 per cent of manufacturing companies and 76% of those employing between 51-100 people expressed concerns about the availability of skilled workers. Some respondents linked this issue to the lack of a mature university provision in the city – citing that as one of the reasons it was hard to attract the right calibre of staff.
“The positivity generated in this survey reflects the conversations Opportunity Peterborough is having with local businesses and we’re pleased to see increasing demand for our support services that help businesses to set up and grow,” said Steve Bowyer, acting CEO of Opportunity Peterborough.
“Though largely good news, of course there is more work to be done. Access to a skilled workforce continues to be a priority requirement for local businesses – particularly with further growth signalled – and that’s why the work of our award-winning Skills Service is so important.
“We’re already working with education providers and more than 2,000 local employers to upskill the city’s future talent pool; I’d urge any local company that hasn’t already engaged with our skills programme to get in touch.”
Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “The survey results are very positive for businesses, the city and residents. We are continuing to attract investment and create jobs, and I am confident that this will carry on in Peterborough throughout 2015.
“My number one priority is to get a university for Peterborough by 2020. We want our best and brightest to have the option to keep learning here as well as attracting students to study and settle in the city.”
If you would like to receive a full copy of the survey findings, please contact Vicky.Wailen@rawlinsons.co.uk or call her on 01733 568321.