Northern firms seek growth

John Cowling, senior partner at PwC in Sheffield
John Cowling, senior partner at PwC in Sheffield
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Businesses in the North are gearing up for growth in 2012, according to a survey of more than 90 leading finance executives across the region.

Accountants and business advisers PwC carried out the survey and said three out of five finance chiefs were confident their business would grow next year and one in five were confident of growing over the next three years.

Almost half of the respondents said the biggest growth opportunity in the short term involved the development of new products and services, while three out of ten said they were targeting growth from increasing their market share and exporting to new markets.

John Cowling, senior partner in PwC’s Sheffield office, said: “Growth will come from looking harder for opportunities, assessing and managing risk more effectively and having the right talent and capability to exploit these effectively.

“Growth will, in part, be driven by adopting a fact-based approach to talent strategy and workforce planning. There will be tough competition for the people with the right skills base and organisations will need to be intelligent and flexible in their approach to ensure opportunities are not missed for having a lack of talent or succession plans in place.”

Finding staff with the right talents were a key concern for just over one in five firms and nearly half expected additional jobs would go to temporary, rather than full time, staff.

PwC says the Agency Workers Regulations, that came into force earlier this year, will have a significant financial impact on any organisation that uses agency staff on a regular basis.