News in brief: overtime, National Living Wage, entrepreneurs

News in brief
News in brief

SME owners work overtime – one in ten say it’s worth it

The UK's small and medium business owners have contributed £157 billion to the global after-hours economy (valued at £5.5 trillion) by working beyond standard industry hours for their businesses, according to a new global survey by Sage.

Globally, this contribution comes at a price. Nearly half (46%) of all global business owners work more than 40 hours a week. Across the channel, German entrepreneurs are working particularly hard, with 57% working more than 40 hours every week. However, in the UK, business owners are achieving a better work life balance, with just 38% saying they are working these kind of hours.

The survey by Sage, the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, highlights the true sacrifices made by entrepreneurs around the world.

Over a third (36%) of those surveyed say they have sacrificed family time for their businesses, and globally, 44% of business owners say that their dedication to their enterprise has affected their relationships. In the UK, more than a third of entrepreneurs admit to putting their business in front of their personal relationships. Only one in ten of these entrepreneurs ultimately say it was worth it.

National Living Wage forces SMEs to seek flexible workers

New research from the world’s leading jobsite Indeed shows that 84% of UK SMEs depend on flexible workers, including freelancers, part-time and project staff, to overcome national shortages in skilled workers. The study found that 44% of those that hire freelance and flexible workers claim that this supports them to effectively scale their business.

As competition for highly skilled workers heats up, flexible working is becoming an important avenue for SMEs looking to attract talent from larger rivals. More than half of UK SMEs claimed they struggle to find the right people to fill vacant roles, while over a third (39%) of SMEs said that offering the option to work flexibly helped them to attract the most talented employees.

Alongside growing skills shortages, the study uncovered the impending introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016, as a key challenge for SMEs who are looking to hire. Over two thirds of SMEs claim that the new ruling will negatively impact their ability to make hires and grow, while over a quarter already cite costs as the biggest challenge they face when hiring. The industries struggling most to hire the right employees were found to be Legal services (68%), Manufacturing (50%) and Travel and Transport (52%).

Ageing poses a risk to the UK economy

A group of major national and international companies has signed an open letter and pledged to “work over the next five years to help make our ageing society and economy more sustainable”. In the letter, the companies point out that “without action, our ageing society poses a risk to the UK economy and our business. The businesses highlight that demographic change today means that we are “already witnessing shortages in critical parts of our economy“.

Whilst on the one hand, the business leaders recognise the potential of older consumers. They highlight that too few people are saving enough to have a good retirement. They also point out that having a healthy workforce will be key to addressing the UK productivity, yet point out that more investment in healthy ageing needs to be made. The businesses signing the letter argue that “action by all of us over the next five years could make the UK a world leader.”

They point out that “companies have a big part to play in tackling the challenges of demographic change. We can help our workforce age well. And we can ensure our products and services are relevant for all.”

Research finds most people fall out of love with their jobs

New research from the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER) shows Brits fall out of love with their career aged 45 (56%). Indeed, nearly half of us (49%) confess to having little to no interest in our current career and can imagine starting up our own business (41%).

Commissioned by the world’s leading direct selling business, Amway, the findings reveal our 40s as the perfect decade to strike out solo and set up a new business. Gen Y have amassed the necessary experience and skills required to be successful entrepreneurs.

The fear of failure that worries younger workers in their 20s (67%) and 30s (64%) decreases when we hit our forties (57%), making it the ideal time to fulfil our dreams.

‘Accelerate Her’ conference announced to support female entrepreneurs

Investing Women Angels, Scotland’s only female business angel group, is launching the Ambition and Growth Conference, which will take place in Edinburgh from 7-8 March 2016. The two-day event also boasts Scotland’s first ever pitch competition dedicated to women entrepreneurs, Accelerate Her.

Scottish Government Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing said: “The Scottish Government believes that supporting more women to set up and succeed in business is an economic priority and is committed to closing the gender-gap in enterprise. Through Scotland CAN DO we have brought together public, private and third sectors to shape a support network to nurture women-led enterprises.

“It is inspiring to see the dedication of Investing Women, Scotland launching its inaugural Ambition and Growth Conference 2016 and I hope the two day event will encourage even more women entrepreneurs to realise their full potential.”