Brexit: SME leaders aged over 55 most relaxed about economy

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SME owners over the age of 55 are the most relaxed about the state of the economy as the UK heads towards Brexit, according to a new report looking at leaders’ attitudes.

The Zurich study found that only 39 per cent of SME decision makers over the age of 55 believe they face more economic risk now than they did a year ago.

By comparison, 54 per cent of SME leaders under the age of 45 believe that economic risk has increased since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

The biggest concern for this age group is workforce challenges, which 50 per cent pointed out as an issue, compared to 26 per cent of over-55s.

Elsewhere, market dynamics were a primary concern for 35 per cent of decision makers over the age of 55, compared with 42 per cent of those under 45.

And 32 per cent of SME leaders under the age of 45 are most concerned about supply chain issues, compared to just 19 per cent of over-55s.

As a result, under-45s were twice as likely as those over 55 to be seeking out opportunities with emerging technologies to find a competitive edge.

Meanwhile, under-35s were the most likely to see potential in innovative areas of business like teleworking and mobile technology. Perhaps as a result, they were more than twice as likely as over-35s to have registered significant growth over the last year.

“After a turbulent 12 months, older SME decision makers are taking a relaxed approach to economic uncertainty,” said Paul Tombs, head of SME proposition at Zurich. “Although their younger counterparts have shown significantly higher levels of concern across a number of critical economic indicators, scepticism has led to resourcefulness and flexibility.

“Younger business owners are innovating to compete and in an uncertain business environment, they are being rewarded with far greater opportunities for growth than other age groups.”

For more from the report, see the Zurich website.


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