We’re in the midst of a series of conferences with our occupier clients, the next of which will be in London on the 26th of November. We had some very interesting research undertaken by Ipsos MORI ahead of these meetings – aiming to take the temperature of business today (and not just to make sure we had something to talk about!)
The conclusions were reassuring, with the consensus view more optimistic – particularly when firms were being asked about their own business rather than just the general economy. Against the backdrop of fears over public sector job cuts, the fact that two thirds of firms said they planned to maintain or increase job numbers was especially good news.
Is the Outlook Better or Worse for the Next 12 months?
-A Q3 survey of UK businesses for C&W by Ipsos MORI
It’s notable that a lot of UK businesses are looking overseas to drive their growth though and there’s plenty of good news in the survey for Europe as a whole. While 32% plan to increase their UK headcount, 43% expect to increase non-UK staff numbers and EU members of Eastern Europe are the top target for out sourcing, ahead of India in second place. In terms of new markets meanwhile, while Asia is still key, European opportunities are also important, particularly for retailers, who ranked the region as their number one target.
As “cost control” moves down the agenda in favour of “opportunist growth”, real estate has a bigger role to play than seems to have been acknowledged however - in delivering sustainability and supporting new working practices for example. Not all firms have cottoned on to the implications this has for how they use their property, let alone whether they have the right property in the first place – change is set to come!
David Hutchings, European Research Group