SMEs Boost Employment In Food And Drink Sector

Small Firms Set To Go On Hiring More Staff


Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

The UK food and drink sector is one of those set to see a major jobs boost as a result of continued hiring by SMEs.

A study by Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks found 43 per cent of food and drink firms intended to hire new staff in 2014.

Discussing the sector, the head of food and drinks at the banking group Chris Archer said: "Businesses in the food and drinks industry were particularly affected during the recession, but they now look set for recovery as more than half are set to increase turnover in the next 12 months."

Among the notable features of the way managers are planning for the future is the fact that 38 per cent of food and drink firms are setting funds aside to pay for the recruitment of new staff.

The sector's ambitions for job growth exceeded the overall SME figure for planned new hirings, which ran at 39 per cent. However, there were some fields where the proportion of companies wanting to increase their staffing levels was higher than for food and drink. This included the booming manufacturing and construction industries, with 53 per cent and 59 per cent planning to recruit more personnel respectively.

Overall, the smallest companies were most likely to take on new staff, with 69 per cent of those employing 50-99 people at present looking to add to their payrolls. For firms with between 100 and 249 staff the figure was 65 per cent.

With 4.9 million SMEs in Britain collectively planning to raise the number of employees by 3.1 per cent, it means the current workforce of 14.4 million is on course to be increased by a further 446,000.

The number of vacancies in firms with between 50 and 249 employees has followed the general UK pattern for job growth in recent times, with 88,000 positions available in the three months to July this year, up from 74,000 in the same period in 2013.

Expert Opinion
The findings in this research reflect the similar levels of optimism recorded in the CBI’s recent study showing confidence was generally high in the services sector. It is clear that many businesses are now looking at the future in positive terms and are keen to push forward with recruitment plans, but it is vital that SMEs are wise to the need to carefully consider steps taken in this regard.

"Unlike larger organisations with in-house expertise, smaller firms often need to have support from external parties to ensure that efforts to hire more staff run smoothly.

"Small businesses should especially consider talking to legal experts who can ensure they remain compliant with key regulations when going through HR and recruitment processes."
Steven Beahan, Partner