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17 November 2016

Growth and investment remains strong in Hertfordshire

Despite wavering confidence amongst Hertfordshire's businesses, almost three quarters expect to increase profits and nearly two thirds plan to invest in new staff over the next 12 months, according to a recent survey from business advisers Grant Thornton.

The poll has been conducted to mark the launch of Hertfordshire Ltd 2016, Grant Thornton's annual in-depth analysis of the performance of the county's top 200 businesses which has become a recognised barometer of the overall health of the Hertfordshire economy.

Results of the survey reveal the majority (69%) of Hertfordshire businesses expect to increase profits during the next 12 months, whilst 64% anticipate recruiting more staff and over two thirds (67%) are likely to make significant capital investment. This is despite almost half (49%) of firms surveyed stating that business conditions are a little or much more difficult than last year.

Commenting on the poll findings, Jeremy Read from Grant Thornton St Albans who is hosting Hertfordshire Ltd 2016, said: "Last year's report highlighted a successful year for Hertfordshire business with strong increases in profitability, employment and fixed assets as companies made significant investments to pave the way for future growth.

"The results of our initial confidence poll suggest this positive trend is set to continue, despite some uncertainty about business conditions over the coming year, undoubtedly prompted by the UK's vote to leave the EU."

However, a lack of skilled employees continues to remain a key concern for the county's businesses with over two thirds (69%) stating there is insufficient local talent available when recruiting to move their business forward.

Similarly, 67% said the skills shortage was the main challenge to Hertfordshire's economic progress, followed by transport and infrastructure (23%), availability of funding (20%) and government support for businesses (17%).

Steve White added: "As the demand for skilled talent increases, the recruitment market becomes much more competitive and businesses have highlighted again this year that there simply isn't enough local talent to go around – a picture we are seeing not just here in Hertfordshire but right across the country.

"Hertfordshire businesses need to ensure they offer the strongest incentives in terms of wages and employment conditions whilst also looking internally to grow talent within their own organisation."

The results of the Hertfordshire Ltd 2016 study will be unveiled at a breakfast event, hosted by Grant Thornton in association with Hertfordshire LEP, on Thursday 1 December at The Old Palace, Hatfield House and will include a talk from guest speaker Syd Nadim from Clock.



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