News in Brief: Skills shortage, payroll, FTSE 100, beer giants, Co-op

News in Brief

Skills shortage affects 97% of companies surveyed

Only 3% of UK organisations believe they currently have the skills to successfully deliver their strategies, according to a survey.

The majority of board members admit new or additional skills are required, with 66% of those surveyed reported needing these new capabilities to a great or fair extent, an increase of 6% from 2014.

Business consultants Moorhouse found nearly seven in ten of respondents reported an increase in the pace and pressure of change in 2015, while 80% anticipated this would only rise further over the next three years.

The 200 board members surveyed for ‘Barometer on Change’ were drawn from FTSE 250 companies, UK multinationals and major public sector organisations across a variety of industries.

Richard Jones, Partner at Moorhouse, warns: “The need for organisations to adapt to or anticipate a constantly renewing market is clearly on the rise. But with organisations reporting a diminishing ability to deal with that change in-house, their potential for growth – or in severe cases survival, has to be called into question.”

‘Payroll managers face issues with international payments’

More than half (57%) of payroll managers experience at least one returned or failed payment each month, according to a survey.

Research by Payroll World and Equiniti International Payments, which surveyed 353 payroll and HR professionals, found 22% of UK businesses have more than 1,000 oversees employees to pay each month.

The study found expansion of companies into different markets is adding to the complexity of the international payroll market.

The survey reveals UK companies actively manage payments in up to nine countries on average, with Europe and Asia identified as the largest markets, but with a significant proportion of payments going to developing markets like Africa (33%).

Managing director of Equiniti International Payments, Andy Brown, said: “Many organisations find these payments complex and costly to manage and prone to errors and delays. But paying employees the correct amount, on the right day and to the right destination is hugely important for ensuring employee satisfaction and confidence in the organisation.”

Financial stocks help FTSE bounce back

The FTSE 100 climbed today (10 January 2016), with Tesco gaining after an industry sales report and banks bouncing back on bargain-hunting after three straight sessions of losses.

The blue-chip index rose 1% to 5,690.82 after falling more than 1% in the previous session. The benchmark index is down nearly 9% so far this year (2016).

The FTSE 100 rose 1.5% after slumping more than 8% at the start of the week on concerns about the health of the sector and the global economy, reported Reuters.

Press reports said Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse were taking measures to reassure the market.

Shares in Barclays, HSBC and RBS were up 1.4% to 3%.

Tony Cross, analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: "Financial stocks in general are finding some support after the torrid start to the week, but this looks more like opportunistic bargain hunters dipping a toe in the water rather than a wholesale shift in sentiment."

Mixed fortunes for brewer giants

Two of Europe's biggest brewers have posted contrasting results in the face of challenging trading conditions.

Dutch brewer Heineken has increased its dividends on the back of net 2015 profits of £1.47bn (€1.89bn), up 25% on 2014, reported the BBC.

Heineken said it would propose a dividend of £1 (€1.30) per share, above 85p (€1.10) paid in 2015.

Meanwhile, Danish brewer Carlsberg saw an annual loss of £181m (€233), better than analysts had expected.

Carlsberg estimated that it will generate "low-single-digit" organic sales growth in 2016.

The beer giant reported an unexpected net profit for the fourth quarter of £8m (78m Danish kroner) compared with a net profit of £17m (168m Danish kroner) in the same period a year ago.

Co-op beats major supermarkets with rising sales

The Co-operative has beaten sales growth at its major supermarket rivals for the first time in five years.

The Co-op's sales grew by 1.4% in the 12 weeks to 31 January 2016, according to research company Kantar Worldpanel.

People shopped there most frequently, at an average 19 times over the period, compared with a market average of 11 visits, reported the BBC.

In contrast, Sainsbury's was the only major chain to report rising sales, up 0.6%.

Revenues at Tesco fell by 1.6% over the last three months, although Kantar said it was the supermarket group's best reading since September 2015.