UK Mid-Sized Businesses Growing Fastest in Europe

Report shows UK mid-sized businesses are set to beat leaders Germany in growth, exports and employment

GE Capital’s latest report revealed that the average UK mid-sized business will grow by 6.1% this year, beating Germany (4.8%), Italy (3.8%) and France (3.4%), equating to an estimated revenue growth of £133bn for the UK market.

UK mid-sized businesses are closing the gap with Germany’s mid-market in other areas too, with 48% of UK mid-sized businesses planning to expand into new markets compared to Germany’s 40% as well as over double the numbers of jobs expected to be created in the UK – 326,000 compared to Germany’s 150,000.

Attracting and maintaining employees with the right skillset was named as the main challenge for UK businesses in the upcoming year, highlighting a potential skills shortage. However, mid-sized businesses plan to attempt to close this gap, with five times more preparing to increase internship and apprenticeship programmes than cut them.

Regional divides were also exposed in the report, with the north generally performing better than the south and the east more than the west. London was the leading region with 86% of mid-sized businesses reporting revenue growth, and its companies generating 50% of overall international sales.

Report author Prof. Stephen Roper highlighted the place exports could play in this divide:

“This may, in part, be explained by a stronger focus on export markets in the south. Mid-market companies in the north also have more negative perceptions of transport and broadband infrastructure. Greater export support and infrastructure investments in these areas could help to redress the growth imbalance.”

Chief Executive of GE Capital UK, Ilaria del Beato, also issued a statement, emphasising the importance of mid-sized businesses and retaining talent in the UK:

“The success of the mid-market is crucial for the UK economy. Just 1.7% of all businesses provide over one third of private sector GDP, revenues and employment. Yet whilst the mid-market is thinking bigger, it still has critical challenges to overcome, particularly as the competition for talent becomes much tougher, more so than regulation, keeping costs down, and access to finance.”

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