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PwC: Backbone of the UK economy feels left out in the cold

By Rob Starr, Content Manager,

PwC’s biennial survey of nearly 2,000 family businesses in 28 countries across the world finds family businesses feel they are the un-loved sector of UK industry with a significant number feeling the Government does not recognise their importance to the UK economy.

The survey also found that market conditions and competition remain the key external issues for them, but staffing is the key internal issue, with nearly half of all respondents listing recruitment as a key issue in the next 12 months. In addition, 57% of family businesses in the UK don’t believe that young people entering the job market have the right skills and education they require – only family businesses in South Africa had less confidence than those in the UK.

There is some evidence that succession issues are not as much of a concern as in previous surveys with 41% say they are passing the business on to the next generation, but there is still concern around keeping the family business in the family with 14% saying they will pass ownership of the business down, but will employ non-family management.

Despite the economic downturn, the outlook is positive for the family business sector with 47% of UK companies demonstrating sales growth. Although this figure is lower than the global percentage of 65%, 12% of UK family businesses are aiming to grow quickly and aggressively, with a further 69% aiming to grow steadily. Of these companies, 91% are confident of achieving this growth.

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