News in brief: resilience, jobseekers, Black Friday

News in brief
News in brief

Resilience is a priority for businesses

Resilience has been dubbed “indispensable for long-term growth” for eight in ten businesses, reports a study released by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Executives are confident about their companies’ ability to embed key specific resilience-promoting practices in their daily operations and understand the benefits of becoming resilient. However, the survey also reveals that just one in three (29%) say that resilience has become fully embedded within the organisation.

Looking ahead, less than half (44%) of respondents expect to have achieved this goal in three years’ time.

A number of obstacles are holding businesses back from becoming fully resilient, namely the need to focus on immediate financial issues (53%), lack of skills or knowledge related to ensuring resilience (48%) and insufficient leadership commitment (47%).

Editor of the report, Victoria Tuomisto, said: "The apparent gap between the intention and action in companies' approach towards resilience suggests that businesses are facing a host of challenges in embedding resilience in a changing and volatile marketplace. These, in turn, will be different for every company. But a resilient organisation by definition is one that is constantly shifting and adapting; there is no ‘finish line’ when it comes to implementing a culture of resilience."

Lasting Power of Attorney “vital” to SME success

Millions of small businesses are at risk of financial collapse should the business owner beccome temporarily physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to sign company documentation.

Law firm Moore Blatch estimates very few business owners have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, without which many business-critical financial transactions could not take place, such as contractual arrangements, many banking and financial transactions, and renewing leases.

Around 47% of small business owners are aged over 55 in the UK, a figure that is increasing annually, and 23% of owners have a longstanding illness or disability. Around 62 per cent (3.3 million) of all UK businesses are sole proprietorships, 30 per cent - 1.6 million - are companies, and eight per cent - 436,000 - are partnerships.

Senior solicitor, taxes and trusts at Moore Blatch, Philip Whitcomb, said: “Many people are aware of the importance of having ‘key person’ insurance to protect the business in the event of a death. But, most don’t consider what happens in the event of incapacity and an inability to carry out business-critical decisions. Company directors should also review their governing documents, such as the articles of association, since they may contain provisions on the incapacity of directors. I believe a Lasting Power of Attorney should be viewed as another insurance policy vital to the ongoing success of the business.”

UK has twice as many jobs available as jobseekers

There are now twice as many advertised jobs as there are jobseekers to fill them, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

The month of October 2015 saw 1,229,131 total advertised vacancies compared to 664,130 jobseekers – meaning there are now two vacancies to every jobseeker within the UK. This has led the ratio of jobseekers to vacancies to a new post-recession low of 0.54, down 43.2% from October 2014 when this figure stood at 0.95 – or one vacancy per jobseeker – as climbing vacancies offer more options to jobseekers.

In November 2015, a festive jobs boom has helped reduce job competition further. Advertised vacancies are rising in the run-up to Christmas, with the number of positions increasing 4.3% month-on-month from 1,178,129 in September. On a yearly basis, vacancies increased 31.2%, fuelled by a worsening long-term skills shortage which means more vacancies are remaining unfilled.

At the same time, the latest ONS statistics show unemployment has fallen to 5.3% – the lowest figure since early 2008. Employment levels have been boosted as more people enter into temporary work, part-time employment and, significantly, self-employment.

Year-round discounts help build customer loyalty

Loyalty rewards, in the form of discounts, are more popular than tangible gifts for both B2B and B2C customers, a survey by home and business energy comparison website, Love Energy Savings, showed.

The company conducted two surveys, one aimed at businesses and one aimed at consumers across the UK, to find out what persuades people to join a store’s loyalty scheme.

MD of Love Energy Savings Phil Foster said: “There are so many loyalty schemes out there that the concept has become a little diluted. Using the results of this survey, businesses across the UK will be able to set up a loyalty scheme that truly benefits their customers.

“The best way for businesses to maintain loyalty is to make their customers feel valued and a loyalty scheme is a fantastic way to get ahead in the marketplace, offering customers an incentive to keep returning even after the Black Friday sale has ended.”

SME spending trends on Black Friday revealed

SME retailers experienced a 40% uplift in spending around Black Friday, slightly higher than last year (37%), according to Vend, a point-of-sale software provider.

With a sample size of 1,300 UK SMEs, the data has revealed there was a 13% increase in sales volumes on Black Friday and a 29% increase in average sales value.

Bristol was the winner regionally, experiencing the biggest increase in retail spend, over London and Birmingham.