News in brief: family businesses, wages, communications

News in  brief
News in brief

A positive outlook for family businesses

Family firms across the UK are setting their sights on expansion following another hugely successful year for the sector.

New research by Oxford Economics for the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Research Foundation reveals the vast contribution family firms make to the UK economy – employing over 11.9m people and making up 87% of all private sector firms in the UK.

Throughout the course of 2014, family businesses increased employment by an impressive 6%, performing better than private sector firms as a whole, which grew at 4%. Turnover also saw a strong rise, jumping by 2% from the previous year to reach £1.3 trillion.

Furthermore, family firms paid £125bn in taxes and contributed over a quarter (26%) of the UK’s entire GDP – a 4% rise in the sector’s gross value added compared to 2013, and a 10% rise since 2010.

Consumers lack faith in retailers

The vast majority of branded communications sent by the retail sector in the UK and Ireland are irrelevant, according to consumers.

This research, carried out by polling company Coleman Parkes, quizzed consumers across the UK and Ireland about the communications material they received from brands and service providers. The majority of respondents (83%) said the material sent to them by retailers was irrelevant to them.

Alongside this issue of general and non-personalised communications, consumers have also revealed they no longer trust businesses to handle and secure their personal data. Retail was the industry rated as least trustworthy, with nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) saying they don’t trust store brands.

Employees urged to chase up National Living Wage

Workers are urged to take simple steps to make sure they receive the Government’s new National Living Wage next month, after research reveals nearly one third of people never check their payslips.

The survey for the Government’s Step Up for Britain campaign finds 32% of the lowest paid employees fail to make this simple check against their earnings.

But workers can take three simple steps to make sure they are eligible and receive the pay increase:

• Visit to check if you are eligible

• Use the website’s online calculator to see how much more you will be paid

• Check your payslip after 1 April; if you don’t receive the extra, speak to your boss or talk to Acas for advice.

The government’s Step Up For Britain campaign was launched in January to highlight the introduction of the National Living Wage on 1 April. More than one million workers are set to directly benefit from the increase, which sees the current National Minimum Wage rate of £6.70 increase by 50p for those aged 25 and over. Many on a full time wage will see pay packets rise by up to £900 a year.

Young people not interested in starting a business

Only 22% of young people aged 15-18 are interested in starting their own business, as four-in-five (78%) young people say they would be likely to work for a well-established company, and half (53%) say they do not want to take any risks when it comes to making money.

This research, commissioned by Google, highlights the challenges the UK must overcome to safeguard the next generation of entrepreneurs, a key driver of creative, technological and economic growth.

Commenting on the research, ReesRussell partner Jonathan Russell said: “This survey would accord with our experience in West Oxfordshire. Job security is a major issue, as is work - life balance and the majority of the younger generation are more risk averse and less fiscally driven than their parents.

“In part this may be because they have seen the stresses created for their parents and would rather not have similar experiences themselves. We are also seeing greater collective decisions made within couples rather than one party dominating.”

Russell also argued that there is not enough support for young entrepreneurs, and it is relatively easy for young people to find full employment with a decent salary

SMEs still rely on pen and paper for communications

According to Tech City, as many as 15% of businesses started in the last few years have been digital businesses. Despite this, and advances in modern collaboration technology, new research from Epson UK reveals that pens, paper and white-boards still form the creative backbone of young British businesses, with 82 per cent relying on them on a daily basis.

The independent survey of 500 entrepreneurs, new businesses and start-ups across the UK confirms that pen, paper and whiteboards are the most popular tools for facilitating and capturing ideas for creative tasks (63%), with desktop computers, laptops (58%) and post-its (28%) following suit.

Respondents said they preferred physically writing things down because it’s quicker and easier than typing (73%), helps them better remember and process important information (74%) and enables them to think more creatively (63%). Even so-called digital natives, those aged between 18-24 years old, admitted they like using pens, paper, whiteboards and writing tools to think creatively about tasks (73%).

“While there is no doubt that computers have an important role in the workplace, these results suggest that paper and pen is key to the creativity that fuels the UK’s burgeoning entrepreneurs, new businesses and start-ups. With multiple research papers showing that the brain is more stimulated by hand-written non-linear information than typed lists, this is hardly surprising,” explains Epson UK and Ireland MD Rob Clark.