· 1 min read · News

SMEs in record-breaking hiring growth, says CBI report


Small businesses are increasing recruitment at the fastest rate since 1998, according to the CBI SME Trends Survey.

The survey of more than 500 SME business leaders reveals 34% increased their headcount in the three months leading up to July. Only 9% said it has decreased.

This is driven by optimism about the wider economy. Almost one-third (31%) of SME employers feel more confident about their business' economic position, while only 11% are less optimistic than three months previously.

The manufacturing SME sector was particularly strong in the second quarter of 2014. This was largely driven by a rise in domestic orders. More than one-third (36%) saw domestic sales grow, while only 19% suffered a decrease.

The export picture is less encouraging. One-fifth (20%) of small businesses have seen these fall and only 18% increased their orders to foreign countries.

CBI deputy director-general Katja Hall suggested the sluggish exports could be down to the "strength of the sterling".

"Smaller manufacturers are settling into a regular growth pattern, with their order books and output growing for the fourth consecutive quarter," she said.

"We need the Government to get behind our small and medium-sized manufacturers, to help them sell their products and services to new markets around the world, giving a sustainable boost to long-term growth."