The monthly Rethinking the Economy survey of 500 mid-sized businesses conducted by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP,revealed an overwhelming economic confidence amongst Thames Valley business leaders. As well as faith in the strength of the regional economy, 90% of local companies feel secure about the resilience of their businesses over the next 12 months.
Business leaders have strengthened their operations in response to COVID-19 by investing in new technology (42%), completing mergers and acquisitions (39%) and launching new products and services (26%). Additionally, Thames Valley businesses have adopted more flexible working (39%) and divested parts of operations (29%) as they’ve adapted during the pandemic.
Commenting on the findings, David Brookes, Managing Partner at BDO in Thames Valley said: “The region’s business leaders have acted decisively and with diligence to mitigate the disruption and financial impact of COVID-19. This has seen nearly half (45%) of businesses increase revenues versus this time 12 months ago, while 23% managed to hold similar levels to this time last year. This is an incredible achievement and is providing businesses with a much more positive outlook for the future.”
Looking ahead, medium-sized businesses throughout Thames Valley are placing a firm emphasis on upskilling employees to drive growth in a post-pandemic economy. A third of companies (33%) are investing in training and development, while a similar number are looking to forge stronger links with universities, colleges and schools to develop skills.
David added: “The importance of people is further underlined by the region’s business leaders, with 61% citing employee safety and wellbeing as their biggest operational concern. This was above other serious and well documented challenges caused by the pandemic such as threats to cash flow, sales and supply chains. This is much welcome news during a climate of job losses and provides optimism for investment in employment and career opportunities going forwards.”