News in brief: skills gap, digital ability, overtime

News in brief
News in brief

Businesses anticipate skills gap when baby boomers retire

UK employers are anticipating a significant skills gap when baby boomers retire over the next two to five years and are already taking steps to mitigate the risk.

New research from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK reveals that 74% of finance directors are concerned that the skills gap resulting from widespread retirement of baby boomers will have a negative impact on their organisation over the next two years. An even higher proportion (77%) says that the departure of older workers will have a negative impact over the next five years.

Not only will employers need to consider the impact of the skills shortage that this mass-departure will create, but they will also have to accommodate different demands and expectations from younger Generation X and Y workers coming to replace them.

Lack of digital ability is holding back start-ups

A lack of digital ability has been identified as a key contributor to the failure of many UK online start-ups, according to a new report.

An independent survey of UK entrepreneurs found that aside from financing and raising capital, the lack of digital skills, or “digital poverty”, was one of the principal reasons for business failure among the digital SME community.

The Unleashing Entrepreneurs Online Study, which questioned respondents involved in UK digital start-ups, found that despite the growing number of businesses forming and launching online, many are dooming themselves to failure. This is because they do not have the necessary knowledge and ability internally to successfully manoeuvre around the digital landscape and take full advantage of online tools to improve their business. Asking the UK’s digital business owners about the key barriers and drivers to entrepreneurialism, the report findings underline the importance of digital education and in particular, the need for entrepreneurs to have basic digital skills in order to survive in a competitive market place.

Folk2Folk wins ‘Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses’ award

Peer-to-peer lender, Folk2Folk, has been awarded the Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses by AltFi, the world's leading news site for alternative finance, which tracks performance across the global alternative finance sector.

Folk2Folk was selected by an independent panel of industry experts and SMEs as winner of the Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses for its excellent fundamentals, strong values, good customer engagement and clear transparency of fees. The judges of the AltFi Awards 2015 also highlighted that Folk2Folk's High Street offices, which provide an opportunity for face-to-face meetings, was a key advantage for its customers and that this kind of access cannot be underestimated or undervalued.

This award provides further recognition that Folk2Folk is one of the UK's top alternative finance platforms. AltFi's online index currently ranks Folk2Folk as the UK's sixth largest peer-to-peer lender to business.

SMEs not prepared for losing a key member of staff

Legal and General Business Protection has today revealed that many SMEs could be at risk as owners often underestimate the impact that losing a key member of staff would have on their business. The findings come from Legal and General’s State of the Nation report, which looked at the health of the country’s SMEs.

Over half of those surveyed (58%) thought that the loss of a key person would not affect their creditors. Similarly, 63% said it would have no effect on their brand and 47% said that losing a key person would not affect their cash flow, however Legal and General’s report highlights that this perception is often contrary to the reality.

The report found that 40% of SMEs would cease trading within a year if a key person died or became ill and had to stop work, and that the loss of a key person would have the greatest impact on sole traders, where 63% would cease trading immediately. For businesses less than two years old the situation was worse, as 46% said that they would cease trading immediately.

Research finds that overtime is a part of normal working life

New research by global workplace provider Regus has revealed that workers in the UK are regularly putting in a considerable number of extra hours at the office. Almost a fifth (17%) regularly work a staggering 15 hours per week or more – the equivalent of two days – in addition to their scheduled hours. These workers are therefore effectively working a seven-day week.

Regus’ latest survey, which gathers responses from more than 3,500 UK professionals, shows that overtime is now part of normal working life. Only 12% said they usually work one extra hour per week or less and for over half (57%) working an extra six hours or more is typical.

The research also shows that UK workers are struggling to switch off at the weekend, with almost a third (29%) most likely to complete their overtime on Saturdays and Sundays. However, workers are keen to leave on time on Fridays; only 10% say they usually work overtime at the end of the working week.