Also in the news this week - 12 February 2016

12 February 2016

UK leads way on recruitment

Over 5,000 new recruitment businesses started up in the UK in 2015, according to Sonovate. Its data, taken from Companies House, reveals a 144% increase on the 2,092 recruitment agencies launched in 2010. It means the UK is now the third biggest recruitment market globally, after the US and Japan, with the industry turning over £31.5bn. Richard Prime, chief executive of Sonovate, said: "The way people work is changing. With the well-documented skills shortage, more and more skilled workers now view contract work as both an attractive and lucrative form of employment."

Social media and other distractions at work

One in five (20%) employees say they never spend a full eight hours per day on work-related tasks according to a survey by AVirtual. The poll reveals that 1.6 hours are wasted everyday by the average employee. Social media is the favourite form of procrastination for 42%; other distractions include gossiping with colleagues, tea and coffee breaks and online shopping. Now 57% of business owners say that outsourcing work to virtual employees is more productive than having full time in-house staff.

Broadband top concern for ambitious SMEs

Access to "fast and reliable" broadband is most important to 55% of growing small firms according to new research by YouGov for Citrix. Jochen Boekel, area vice president EMEA at Citrix, said: "Access to fast and reliable broadband will underpin many of the emerging SMB trends this year, as smaller firms look to trade internationally and narrow the digital skills gap by tapping into global and freelance expertise. With the UK's productivity slowing down, it is important for the Government to continue working with ISPs to improve internet infrastructure and ensure that the country's entrepreneurial spirit is not stifled by untenable broadband speeds."

BCC calls for support as manufacturing flounders

The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that manufacturing output in December 2015 was down 0.2% on the month and down 1.7% on the year. David Kern, chief economist of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "While our increasing reliance on a vibrant services sector means that the UK economy as a whole is likely to continue growing, our manufacturing sector is still critical to the wellbeing of the economy in key areas such as exports, innovation and productivity. Greater efforts are needed to support manufacturers as they compete in the face of difficult global economic headwinds."