Smaller firms plan jobs spree in the next year

Marion Dakers
SMALLER listed companies are aiming to create more than 200,000 new jobs in the next year, with almost three-quarters of these firms looking to hire in spite of a tough time securing funds.

The businesses polled by the Quoted Companies Alliance and accountancy group BDO expect to expand their workforce by an average of 5.8 per cent in the coming 12 months as confidence in their own business prospects rises.

Seventy-two per cent are hoping to take on new staff next year, up from 43 per cent a year ago.

When asked what the government could do in the next Budget to help their business, a third said a simpler tax regime and national insurance reforms would give the biggest boost.

“Sentiment has skyrocketed and small and mid-cap companies now need the right conditions to grow – National Insurance Contribution reductions and rebates would facilitate that growth, both here and abroad,” said Scott Knight, a partner at BDO.

However, 35 per cent of these listed companies and their advisers said the City of London serves them poorly, blaming difficulties in finding investors with the risk appetite to help raise cash.

Meanwhile, firms rated the ease of securing finance from banks at 5.88 out of 10, up from 5.58 three months ago.

“The City favours investment in lower-risk, cash generative companies,” said Tim Ward, chief executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance. “This rules out pre-revenue small and mid-cap companies, such as many in the high tech sector, that are clearly gearing-up to grow.

“The City needs to recognise and support those companies that are post-seed funding and pre-positive cash generation.”