Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015

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1 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 A Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Research Report

2 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Prepared for: Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Prepared by: June Wiseman, Research Director and Emma Parry, Associate Director, BMG Research Ltd Date: April 2015 Produced by BMG Research Bostock Marketing Group Ltd, Project: 9556 Registered in England No Registered office: 7 Holt Court North Heneage Street West Birmingham Science Park Aston B7 4AX UK Tel: +44 (0) UK VAT Registration No Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Member No. B4626 Market Research Society Company Partner British Quality Foundation Member The provision of Market Research Services in accordance with ISO 20252:2012 The provision of Market Research Services in accordance with ISO 9001:2008 The International Standard for Information Security Management ISO 27001:2005 Investors in People Standard - Certificate No. WMQC 0614 Interviewer Quality Control Scheme (IQCS) Member Company Registered under the Data Protection Act - Registration No. Z The BMG Research logo is a trade mark of Bostock Marketing Group Ltd

3 Table of Contents 1 Executive Summary Business population profile Business Conditions Business Support Workforce and Recruitment Skills and Training Transport Environmental Issues Regulatory Issues Corporate Social Responsibility Business Relocation Background Method Note on reporting Sample Profile Business size Industry sector Number of sites Exporting Business Conditions Key findings Recent business performance Aims for growth Business planning Expectations of business performance Perceptions of general business conditions Concerns and constraints to growth Business Support Key findings Use of external advice and information Need for business support... 38

4 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Perceived usefulness of Business Gateway services Workforce and Recruitment Key findings Recruitment Recruitment difficulties Causes of hard-to-fill vacancies Skill shortage vacancies Plans to recruit Trainee opportunities within businesses Apprenticeships Traineeships Work experience placements Reasons for not offering training programme and placement opportunities Dealings with educational establishments Skills and Training Key findings Training activity Reasons for not delivering training Use of external training providers Finding appropriate training Skill gaps Plans to train or up-skill staff in the next 12 months Transport Key findings Improvements required Impact of planned disruption Environmental Issues Key findings Environmental policies Activities to improve energy efficiency Environmental concerns Regulatory Issues Key findings Relevant regulatory areas

5 Executive Summary 10.3 Interaction with regulators Perception of level of understanding amongst regulatory officers Levels of confidence in regulatory officers Better Business for all Corporate Social Responsibility Key findings Businesses work with local charities and community projects Business Relocation Key findings Plans to relocate Reasons for relocation Type of premises sought Destination Appendix I: Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC 2007)

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7 Executive Summary 1 Executive Summary The 2015 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey was commissioned in October 2014 by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). The survey has been conducted since 1994, providing a robust source of intelligence about the local economy. It is used by the LLEP and local business and other organisations to assess how the local economy is performing. The main objective of the research is to provide the LLEP and partners with information from the business community to inform strategic planning, decisionmaking, evidence-based policy and information to help attract funding. Between November 2014 and January 2015 (inclusive) 1,027 telephone interviews were conducted with employers across the LLEP area. The survey focuses on private sector employers (businesses without employees were not included in the sample) and the data reported is related to the establishment at which the respondent was based and not the business as a whole if there are sites elsewhere. 1.1 Business population profile 75 of LLEP area employers employ fewer than 10 staff at their site; 45 employ fewer than 5 staff. One in twenty LLEP area employers employs 50 or more staff at their site. The largest industry sector in terms of business units is that of the wholesale/retail, motor vehicle repair trades (24). Manufacturing accounts for one in nine employers (11). 74 of LLEP area employers are single site organisations; 26 are multi-site organisations, with 4 of all employers in the area a headquarters establishment. This increases to 30 of businesses with 200+ employees. One in six LLEP area employers export goods or services, increasing to 34 of businesses with employees; 50 of those with 200 or more employees and 45 of manufacturers. 1.2 Business Conditions Business performance More than half of LLEP area employers report increased sales turnover (55) and profits (54) in the last 12 months. This positive trend is expected to continue, with three-quarters of employers anticipating increased sales turnover and profit in the next 12 months (each 76). Staff headcount has increased in a third of businesses (35) over the last 12 months, while a similar proportion (38) anticipates an increase in staff headcount in the next 12 months. Manufacturing businesses are particularly strong in this respect (42 in the last 12 months; 53 in the next 12 months). 1

8 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Around two-fifths of employers report increased capital investment (37) and have started offering new products or services in the last 12 months (39). Employers are more optimistic about these aspects of business performance in the next 12 months; 43 anticipating increased capital investment and 45 anticipating offering new products or services. Again, manufacturing businesses are particularly likely to report positive trends in these respects; 52 reported increased capital investment; 49 reported having started offering new products or services and 55 and 56 anticipated increased capital investment and the introduction of new products or services respectively in the next 12 months Growth plans The majority of LLEP area employers (71) are aiming for growth, with most having aspirations for steady rather than rapid growth (64 and 7 respectively). The propensity to aim for growth increases with business size, with 22 of businesses with 200 or more employees aiming for rapid growth. A quarter of employers (24) plan to remain at their present size; 27 in micro businesses (2-9 employees) and 15 in larger businesses (10+ employees) Business plans Half of all employers (50) have a business plan and most (82 of those with a business plan; 41 of all employers) report that it is kept up to date. Of all employers, 29 reported that they do not have a formal or informal business plan. This is most common in micro businesses (35 of those with 2-9 employees) Business outlook Nearly two-fifths of employers (38) expect general business conditions in the area to improve in the next 12 months, but a higher proportion (42) do not anticipate change. Around one in ten (9) believe conditions will deteriorate. Large (51 of those with 200 or more employees) and construction (46) businesses are particularly likely to be optimistic and expect conditions to improve. Employers based in Hinckley and Bosworth (49 expect improvement) and Leicester City (43) are most positive. Those in Melton (32) and North West Leicestershire (33) are least positive Business concerns Competition in the market is at the forefront of potential issues when employers are asked about any business concerns they have (13). The top five also includes: access to finance; cash flow; skills shortages/finding staff; economy/recession (all mentioned by 6). When asked to rate a list of issues in terms of the extent to which they are a concern for their business, employers rate regulation and red tape highest (27 rate it as being of great concern ), followed by: cash flow (20); energy costs (19); broadband speed (19); and competition in the market (18). 2

9 Executive Summary Manufacturers are particularly likely to be concerned about skill shortages/finding staff (51 rate it as a significant or great concern 1 ), while employers in the transport/retail/accommodation/distribution (TRAD) sectors are particularly concerned about energy costs. Employers in Melton are significantly more likely than average to be concerned with broadband speeds (44 rating this as a significant or of great concern). In fact, businesses in rural areas in general are significantly more likely to be concerned with broadband speeds than those in urban areas (39, compared with 29). 1.3 Business Support Advice or information sought Thirty-six per cent of LLEP area employers have sought external advice or information on matters affecting their business in the last 12 months. This increases to 45 within businesses with 50 or more employees. Professional services, which include banks, accountants and law firms, are a key source for businesses that have sought external advice or information (79). These are followed by family or friends (44) and private sector business advisor, coach, mentor or consultant (40). One in four employers (24) has sought advice and information from their local council. Businesses with 50 or more employees are more likely to have consulted their local council (40), as well as obtaining advice or information from government schemes (45), trade associations (50) and colleges/universities (50) Preferences for accessing business support Face to face and through a website are preferred ways of accessing business support (38 and 33 of all employers respectively), although telephone contact comes to the fore as a second preference (22) Business Gateway services Employers were asked how useful they would find assistance from a Business Gateway in a number of areas. They were asked to use a 10-point scale, where 1 is not at all useful and 10 is extremely useful or essential. The proportion of employers giving a score of 7 or above to each is as follows (in descending order): Selling and marketing their products and services useful (31): Finding suitable training for staff (24); Website development/social media (24); Recruitment (22); Accessing finance (21); General advice about how to grow their business (20); Developing local supply chains (19); 1 A rating of 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is no concern at all and 5 is of great concern. 3

10 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 The opportunity to speak with an advisor and discuss business plans and issues (18); Research and development (14); How to work with universities (14); Developing a business plan (14); Finding new premises (12); and Export advice (7). There was a particularly high level of interest in many of the areas amongst businesses with 50 to 199 employees. Furthermore, manufacturing and transport, retail and distribution (TRAD) businesses tended to be more likely than average to rate most service areas as useful. 1.4 Workforce and Recruitment Recruitment difficulties Fifty per cent of LLEP area employers have recruited staff in the last 12 months. This proportion increases to 99 of businesses with 50 or more staff. A quarter of all employers (25) have experienced difficulties in recruiting staff in the last 12 months (39 of those that have recruited any staff during this period). Around a quarter of those experiencing difficulties (23) have not recruited in the last 12 months, suggesting that for these employers, difficulties have not been resolved. Recruitment difficulties are most likely to have been experienced in skilled trade occupations. These account for around one in five of all hard to fill vacancies (19). Process, plant and machine operatives, personal service and elementary occupations, each account for one in six/seven hard to fill vacancies Skills shortage vacancies A lack of the right skills in applicants is the most common cause of recruitment difficulties (39 of those experiencing recruitment difficulties), with a lack of the required character traits and/or work experience next most frequently cited (24 and 22 respectively). Overall, 15 of all employers report skills shortage vacancies. This increases to 30 of businesses with employees and 43 of businesses with 200+ employees. It is higher than average in manufacturing (22, compared with 15) Plans to recruit Two-fifths of employers (42) are planning to recruit in the next 12 months. This proportion is higher than average in manufacturing (51) Provision of training posts One in seven employers (14) currently has any staff undertaking Apprenticeships at their site. This proportion is higher than average in manufacturing (19) and other services (18) businesses. 4

11 Executive Summary Three in five LLEP area employers (61) are aware of Traineeships, but just 4 (7 of those aware of them) have staff undertaking them. A third of all employers (32) report it likely that they will offer Apprenticeships in the future and the proportion is lower with regard to Traineeships (25). More than a third of employers (36) offer work experience placement opportunities at their site and this increases to 48 of businesses with employees and 59 of those with 50 or more employees. Two-fifths of all employers (40) indicate that they are likely to offer work experience placements in the future. This is only a slightly higher proportion than already do so. With regard to all three training opportunities i.e. Apprenticeships, Traineeships and work experience placements; employers are more likely to indicate it unlikely that they will provide such opportunities than indicate that it is something they might do. Reasons for not offering these opportunities revolve around lack of need for trainees or an extra pair of hands, no time to train or support the individual and that the business is not a suitable training ground and that staff need to be fully trained Dealings with educational establishments Half of employers (50) have had some dealings with educational establishments. Around one in five have had dealings with schools (22), FE colleges (23) or private training providers (20). 1.5 Skills and Training Training provision Nearly half of all employers (47) have arranged or funded training for employees in the last 12 months. A third of all employers (31) have arranged or funded off-the-job training, while a higher proportion than this (37) have arranged or funded on-the-job or informal training. The propensity to provide training increases with business size to 69 of businesses with 10 to 49 employees; 79 of those with employees and 97 of those with 200 or more employees. It is higher than average in other services sectors (55). The majority of employers that have not trained cite a lack of need amongst their staff. Nearly three-quarters of employers (72) have used external training providers; private training providers mainly (63), with around a quarter having used FE colleges (22) and just 7 having used HE establishments Sourcing training Nearly three-quarters of employers providing a response (73) found it easy to find training last time they sought it. Just 10 did not. The proportion of employers that found it easy to find training increases alongside business size to 86 of businesses with 200+ employees. Those that have funded or arranged any training in the last 12 months are significantly more likely than those who have not to find it easy to find appropriate training (87 found it quite/very easy, compared with 69). 5

12 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Difficulties experienced in finding training tend to revolve around a (perceived) lack of trainers/providers of relevant training courses Skill gaps Overall, 66 of all employers identified at least one area in which staff need to improve their skills. They are most likely to identify a need for marketing or sales skills (31) and technical, practical or job specific skills (29). When asked to cite the most significant skill gaps within their business, employers are most likely to select either of these two skill areas; marketing or sales skills (12) and technical, practical or job specific skills (10). There is long and diverse list of specific technical, practical or job specific skills mentioned by employers. The five most frequently mentioned disciplines include engineering, IT, care, building and farming Plans to train More than half of all employers (57) plan to train or up-skill their staff in the next 12 months. This proportion increases with business size and includes all businesses with 200+ employees. The skills concerned are most likely to be technical, practical or job specific skills; the three most frequently mentioned being machine operators, legal/compliance posts and IT. 1.6 Transport Benefits of local transport measures When asked how beneficial to their business a range of local transport measures would be, the proportions of LLEP area employers indicating significant benefits for each (a rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is no difference and 5 is significant benefits) are as follows: Reducing traffic congestion (37); More access to car parking (31); Improving access for customers travelling by car (26); Improving access for employees travelling by car (22); Improving access for customers travelling by sustainable modes (18); Improving access for employees travelling by sustainable modes (17); Improving access for suppliers (17) Impact of disruption More than two-fifths of employers (43) report some impact of planned disruption and this includes 28 that report a financial impact. Just 3 of all employers have sought compensation through business rates (11 of those reporting a financial impact). A third of all employers that reported an impact on their business from planned disruption to the transport network (34) agree that more information or earlier notice would have reduced the impact. This equates to 15 of all LLEP area employers. 6

13 Executive Summary 1.7 Environmental Issues Environmental policy Fifty-three per cent of LLEP area employers have an environmental policy or similar. All businesses with 200 or more employees have one Actions taken Fifty-seven per cent of employers have done something to improve their energy efficiency in the last 2 years. This increases to four-fifths of businesses with 50 or more employees (79). Employers were asked about specific environmental actions they have taken in the last two years. The proportions of employers that have undertaken these are as follows: Reduced waste or increased recycling (75); Reduced energy consumption (58); Reduced carbon emissions (40); and/or Reduced packaging (39); Reduced mains water use (32). Overall, 86 of all employers have undertaken at least one of these activities Environmental concerns With respect to environmental and climate change concerns, employers are most likely to be concerned about energy security (i.e. having an uninterrupted supply) and extreme weather events. The majority of employers are not concerned about flood risk, heat wave or drought. The proportions of employers rating these concerns as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not a concern at all and 5 is a very great concern are as follows: Energy security (48); Extreme weather events (39); Management of business waste (23); Flood risk (22); Heatwave (17); Drought (14). Employers located in Leicester City are significantly more likely than average to be concerned with energy security (59) or management of business waste (30), while those in Melton are particularly likely to be concerned about extreme weather events (53). 1.8 Regulatory Issues Relevant regulatory issues The majority of employers consider health and safety (87) and fire safety (76) as relevant regulatory issues to their business. 7

14 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Fewer employers consider environmental protection as being relevant to them (57), while those that consider consumer protection (48), food safety (33), licensing of alcohol, taxis, gambling, entertainment or security personnel (17) are in the minority Local council visits and inspections Just over half of all employers (52) report having been visited by their local council. Twenty-nine per cent of all employers report having been inspected by their local council in the last year. Regulators are seen as courteous and professional by the vast majority of employers in the LLEP area (94 of those providing a response 2 ) and a similar proportion (92) agree that regulators always explain the reasons for their visits to businesses. Fewer, but still the majority agree that regulators enforce the law in a way that is fair and proportionate (81); that the business has a good relationship with regulatory officers (80); that regulators encourage the business to seek advice on how to comply with the law that affects their business (78); and that regulators are consistent in the advice they provide and the way they enforce the law (74). Two-thirds of employers agree that it is easy to make contact with the right official in their local council (66) and that services are co-ordinated to minimise unnecessary overlaps and duplication (64) Views about regulators Employers are least positive when it comes to reflecting on the extent to which they feel they are consulted by regulators when they are developing policies, plans, procedures and service standards (49 agree). Views are mixed with regard to the extent to which regulators understand the pressures faced by businesses: 46 of employers perceive regulators understanding as good; 54 perceive it as limited or non-existent. The majority of employers (71) feel confident in seeking advice and assistance from regulators on regulatory matters. One in six employers (18) are aware of Better Business for all. This proportion varies little by business size. 1.9 Corporate Social Responsibility Work with local charities or local community projects Forty-six per cent of LLEP area employers have worked with local charities or local community projects in the last 12 months. This increases to 71 of businesses with 200 or more employees. 2 Don t knows are excluded 8

15 Executive Summary Working with local charities or local community projects is most likely to have involved fundraising (73), with nearly half of those that have done so (46) providing resources. Just over a quarter of employers that have worked with local charities or local community projects have provided skills and expertise (28) and/or provided volunteers from their staff (27). Just one in six have provided mentoring services (16) Business Relocation Plans to relocate Eight per cent of LLEP area employers are looking to relocate; the majority within the area (79) and more than half (57) within the district in which they are currently based. Growth is a significant driver of the need to relocate. frequently mentioned reason for relocation. More space is the most The majority of those planning to relocate expect it to be difficult to find new premises or space in the LLEP area. 9

16 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Background The 2015 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey was commissioned in October 2014 by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). The Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey has been conducted since 1994, providing a robust source of intelligence about the local economy. It has been used by the LLEP and local business and other organisations to assess how the local economy is performing. The main objective of the research is to provide the LLEP and partners with information from the business community to inform strategic planning, decisionmaking, evidence-based policy and information to help attract funding. It collects robust, timely and reliable data on: business performance exporting investment business support finance employment and skills innovation, and research and development. The survey is also designed to provide a vehicle for consultation with the business community, as well as providing a snapshot of business conditions. It also provides intelligence relating to those industries identified by the LLEP as key to sub-regional economic growth. Specifically, the research was designed to: Measure key indicators of economic performance and identify issues requiring agency intervention. Provide detailed information that is not available through other published sources. Provide contextual information to support future funding bids. Monitor businesses opinions of the local economy and concerns about the future. 2.1 Method Telephone interviews, with an average interview length of about 25 minutes, were conducted with 1,027 employers across the LLEP area in November, December 2014 and January Respondents included directors or proprietors or other senior managers with knowledge of the issues investigated. The survey focused on private sector organisations. Data reported is related to the establishment at which the respondent was based. This could be a headquarters (provided that the HQ was in the LLEP area) or a branch (depending on the outcome of the survey s random sampling processes). 10

17 Background A quota sample was designed, based on the local economy s sectors (SIC 2007), its distribution of workplaces of different sizes (in terms of their employment), and Local Authority Districts (LADs). The quotas for sector, size and LAD were interlocking. The survey data has been weighted using information about the local economy from the Office for National Statistics Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) 3 as at March 2013 (the latest available at the time of the survey). This is so that the findings are fully representative of the LLEP area employers. The structure of the unweighted sample achieved by the survey and its weighted profile by sector, size and district are summarised in the following table. Sector definitions are based on Standard Industry Classification 2007; a full explanation for which is available in Appendix 1. Table 2.1: Sample profile Achieved interviews no. Unweighted sample Weighted interviews no. Weighted sample Standard error at 10/90 Standard error at 50/50 ABDE 4 Primary / /-17.6 C Manufacturing /-5.2 +/-8.7 F Construction /-7.7 +/-12.8 GHI TRAD Transport, retail and distribution JKLMNPQRS Other services /-2.9 +/ /-2.9 +/ employees /-2.5 +/ employees /-3.1 +/ employees /-6.6 +/ employees / /-18.9 Blaby /-5.8 +/-9.6 Charnwood /-5.8 +/ The IDBR consists of all UK registered businesses and is compiled from the following sources: HMRC traders registered for VAT purposes HMRC employers operating a PAYE scheme Incorporated businesses registered at Companies House Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) registered farms Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland (DFPNI) registered businesses 4 See Appendix 1 for explanation of SIC 2007 codes 11

18 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Achieved interviews no. Unweighted sample Weighted interviews no. Weighted sample Standard error at 10/90 Standard error at 50/50 Harborough /-5.7 +/-9.6 Hinckley and Bosworth /-5.8 +/-9.7 Melton /-5.9 +/-9.8 North West Leicestershire /-5.8 +/-9.7 Oadby and Wigston /-5.9 +/-9.8 Leicester City /-3.4 +/-5.6 Leicestershire (excl. City) /2.2 +/-3.7 Total /-1.8 +/-3.1 Results from the total sample may be presumed accurate (with a 95 confidence level) within a maximum sample error of +/-3.1. The margin of error on sub-sets of the total sample increases as the unweighted number of respondents in that sub-set decreases, while the margin of error decreases the closer to 100 or zero that the statistic moves. The sample error for each of the given sub-samples and the total sample is included in table 2.1. It is given for a statistic of 10 or 90 as well as for 50 (the level at which the sample error is at its highest). 2.2 Note on reporting The report references differences by business size, industry sector and LAD for most questions where they are significant and noteworthy. Significant differences by other variables are also discussed. The data is compared to the Small Business Survey (SBS) 2014, where possible or appropriate. This survey is undertaken by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on a bi-annual basis and was last undertaken between July and October It is a UK-wide survey of businesses with up to 249 employees (including businesses with no employees). These are known as SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). It should be noted that the LLEP Business Survey differs in terms of its sample structure, as it does not include businesses without employees and respondents are asked to respond on the basis of the site at which they are based only. Consequently, comparisons between the LLEP Business Survey 2014 and SBS 2014 should be considered as indicative only. Throughout the report only statistically significant differences (at the 95 level of confidence) are noted between sub-samples. Significance testing is based on the difference between a sub-sample (i.e. businesses in the construction sector) and the sample average minus the sub-sample in question (i.e. businesses in all sectors but construction). 12

19 Background Statistics within charts and tables that are statistically significantly higher than average are indicated by the use of bold font. Exceptions to reporting of statistically significant differences: In some instances consistent trends by key variables, mainly business size and industry sector, are noted even though they may not represent statistically significant differences between the sub-samples. 13

20 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Sample Profile The description of the sample profile that follows reflects the employer profile across the LLEP area 5. This is due to the application of weighting factors that have been used to adjust for deliberate over-sampling in some sectors and in larger employer size bands. Over-sampling compared with representation within the employer population enables more robust analysis of these sub-samples that would otherwise not be possible. 3.1 Business size Three-quarters of employers (75) employ fewer than 10 staff at their site. This includes nearly half of all employers (45) that employ fewer than 5 staff. In contrast, just 5 of employers employ 50+ staff at their site. Figure 3.1: Business size (all employers) 2-4 employees employees employees employees employees employees * 250+ employees * Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q4. Including you and any working proprietors, how many people are on the payroll at this location? 5 This is due to the application of weighting factors that have been used to adjust for deliberate oversampling in some sectors and in larger employer size bands. Over-sampling compared with representation within the employer population enables more robust analysis of these sub-samples that would otherwise not be possible. 14

21 Sample Profile The following figure highlights variances in business size by sector. There are a particularly high proportion of employers with fewer than 10 staff within agriculture/fishing (86) and construction (87), while only 59 of employers in manufacturing have fewer than 10 staff at that site. The manufacturing sector has a higher than average proportion of medium-sized businesses ( employees) (8). Table 3.2: Business size, by sector (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases Row percentages Unweighted bases 2-9 employees employees employees 200+ employees ABDE Primary 31~ C Manufacturing F Construction * GHI TRAD Transport, retail, accommodation and distribution JKLMNPQR Other services All employers Q4. Including you and any working proprietors, how many people are on the payroll at this location? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 3.2 Industry sector The industry profile of employers across the LLEP area is summarised in the figure below. One in four employers (24) operates within the wholesale and retail sector. Manufacturing (11), construction (9), professional, scientific and technical (9) and accommodation and food services (8) each account for around one in ten employers. Overall, other services (a group represented by sectors JKLMNPQR) accounts for around two-fifths of all employers in the LLEP area (38), while the next biggest group of sectors is that of transport/retail/accommodation/distribution (TRAD) (35). Overall, service companies account for three-quarters of employers (74) in the area; production/construction for 26. The figure below presents the industry profile of the LLEP area, as described by business population statistics sourced from IDBR 6. 6 IDBR: Inter-Departmental Business Register 15

22 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 3.3: Industry sector 1 digit SIC 2007 (all employers) A: Agriculture, forestry and fishing B: Mining, quarrying and utilities C: Manufacturing D: Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning E: Water supply, sewerage, waste management F: Construction G: Wholesale and retail trade; motor repair H: Transport and storage I: Accommodation and food services J: Information and communication K: Finance and insurance L: Real estate activities M: Professional, scientific and technical N: Administrative and support services P: Education Q: Human health and social work R: Arts, entertainment and recreation S: Other service activities 5 * 11 * * Total business population, businesses with employees *denotes less than 0.5 Source: ONS UK IDBR Statistics October

23 Sample Profile Based on grouped industry sector, there are few differences by business size, although manufacturing businesses account for a higher proportion of medium and large employers than average (as summarised in the table below). Table 3.4: Industry sector, by business size (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases All employers 2-9 employees employees employees 200+ employees~ ABDE Primary C Manufacturing F Construction GHI TRAD Transport, retail and distribution JKLMNPQR Other services Unweighted sample bases ~ Q3. What is the main business activity that you undertake? SIC 2007 (grouped) Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested When focusing on the industry profile of Leicester City compared with the rest of the county (see Figure 3.5), there are few significant differences, although the proportion of accommodation and food services businesses is significantly higher in the City compared with the rest of the county. 17

24 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 3.5: Industry sector: Leicester City versus the rest of Leicestershire county 1 digit SIC 2007 (all employers) Leicester City (309) Rest of County (718) ABDE - Primary C - Manufacturing F - Construction G - Wholesale and retail trade; motor repair H - Transportation and storage I - Accommodation and food service activities J - Information and communication K - Financial and insurance activities L - Real estate activities M - Professional, scientific and technical activities N - Administrative and support service activities P - Education Q - Human health and social work activities R - Arts, entertainment and recreation S - Other service activities * Q3. What is the main business activity that you undertake? SIC 2007 (1-digit) Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 3.3 Number of sites Two-thirds of employers (74) are single site organisations. This proportion declines as business size increases. Three in ten 200+ employers (30) are headquarters, compared with just 4 of all employers on average. Three-quarters of 100+ employers (74) are part of a multi-site organisation, compared with just 18 of 2-9 employers. Single site establishments are more prevalent than average in primary sectors (82) and within manufacturing (83). Employers that are part of multi-site organisations are more prevalent than average within the TRAD sectors (31). 18

25 Sample Profile Figure 3.4: No. of sites, by size and sector (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases Single site Branch/subsidiary HQ All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) Manufacturing (127) Construction~ (59) TRAD (410) Other services (400) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q5. Does the business just operate from this site or does it have other sites? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 3.4 Exporting One in six LLEP area employers (18) export products or services. This increases to 34 of businesses with employees and 50 of those with 200+ employees. The overall figure of 18 amongst SME employers (businesses with employees) in the LLEP area is in-line with the figure of 19 reported by the Small Business Survey 2014 (also based on SME employers) across the UK. The propensity to export is significantly higher than average amongst manufacturers (45). 19

26 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 3.5: Exporting, by size and sector (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) 50 Primary~ (31) 18 Manufacturing (127) 45 Construction~ (59) 11 TRAD (410) Other services (400) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q8. Does your business export products or services outside the UK? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested 20

27 Business Conditions 4 Business Conditions 4.1 Key findings More than half of LLEP area employers report increased sales turnover (55) and profits (54) in the last 12 months. This positive trend is expected to continue, with three-quarters of employers anticipating increased sales turnover and profit in the next 12 months (each 76). Staff headcount has increased in a third of businesses (35) over the last 12 months, while a similar proportion (38) anticipates an increase in staff headcount in the next 12 months. Manufacturing businesses are particularly strong in this respect (42 in the last 12 months; 53 in the next 12 months). Around two-fifths of employers report increased capital investment (37) and having started offering new products or services in the last 12 months (39). Employers are more optimistic about these aspects of business performance in the next 12 months; 43 anticipating increased capital investment and 45 anticipating offering new products or services. Again, manufacturing businesses are particularly likely to report positive trends in these respects. The majority of LLEP area employers (71) are aiming for growth, with most having aspirations for steady rather than rapid growth (64 and 7 respectively). A quarter of employers (24) plan to remain at their present size; 27 in micro businesses (2-9 employees) and 15 in larger businesses (10+ employees). Half of all employers (50) have a business plan and most (41 of all employers) report it kept up to date. Of all employers, 29 do not have a business plan at all, not even an informal one. This is most common in micro businesses (35). Nearly two-fifths of employers (38) expect general business conditions in the area to improve in the next 12 months, but a higher proportion (42) does not anticipate any change. Around one in ten (9) believe conditions will deteriorate. The factor most frequently mentioned as a cause for concern by employers is competition in the market in which they operate (13). The top five also includes: access to finance; cash flow; skills shortages/finding staff; economy/recession (all mentioned by 6). When asked to rate a list of issues in terms of the extent to which they are concern for their business, employers rate regulation and red tape highest, followed by: competition; energy costs; cash flow; finding new business and skills shortages/finding staff. Manufacturers are particularly likely to be concerned about skill shortages/finding staff, while employers in the transport/retail/accommodation/distribution (TRAD) sectors are particularly concerned about energy costs. 21

28 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Employers in Melton are significantly more likely than average to be concerned with broadband speeds (44 rating this at 4 or 5 where 5 is a great concern ). In fact, businesses in rural areas in general are significantly more likely to be concerned with broadband speeds than those in urban areas (39, compared with 29). 4.2 Recent business performance When asked about performance across a range of business indicators, including staff headcount, sales turnover, profits, capital investment and innovation, employers across the LLEP area provided positive reports. More than half of all employers reported increased sales turnover (55) and profits (54) in the last 12 months; while more than a third reported increased capital investment (37), increased staff headcount (35) and that they have started offering new products or services (39). Furthermore, 40 of exporters reported increasing the amount they export to other countries. In contrast, just 15 of employers reported reduced sales turnover in the last year, while 11 reported a reduction in their staff headcount. The table below highlights performance by sector and although there are no significant differences by sector, manufacturing businesses are slightly more likely than average to report positive trends, including increased sales turnover, capital investment and staff headcounts, while also, alongside transport, retail and distribution (TRAD) businesses, slightly more likely than average to have started offering new products or services. It is a more mixed picture with regard to TRAD sectors where reductions in staff headcount and sales turnover have been more common than average. 22

29 Business Conditions Table 4.1: Business performance in the last 12 months, by sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base Increased the staff headcount Increased sales turnover All employers Primary~ Manufacturing Construction TRAD Other services Increased profits Increased capital investment Started offering new products or services Reduced staff headcount Reduced sales turnover None of these Unweighted sample bases Q9. In the last 12 months, has your business...? Employers based in Leicester City are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere to have increased their staff headcount (40, compared with 33), but, conversely also more likely to have reduced their staff headcount (15, compared with 9) although far fewer have seen their workforce shrink than increase. Compared with the findings from SBS , based on employers only, LLEP area employers are more likely to have increased headcount than SME employers UK-wide (35, compared with 22), while also more likely to have increased their sales turnover (55, compared with 40). Furthermore, LLEP area employers are less likely than SME employers across the UK to have reduced either their staff headcount (11, compared with 16) or their sales turnover (15, compared with 18). LLEP area employers are on a par with SME employers UK-wide in terms of their propensity to have started offering new products or services in the last 12 months (39, compared with 38 of UK SMEs). 4.3 Aims for growth Looking ahead in the next 12 months, the majority of LLEP area employers (71) are aiming for growth, although most of these (64 of all employers) are aiming for steady rather than rapid and aggressive growth (7 of all employers). 7 Small Business Survey 2014, BIS (see Section 2.2: Note on Reporting for more information) 23

30 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Aims for growth across business size and sectors is summarised in the figure below. Just 2 of all employers plan to shrink, while just 1 plan to cease trading. These percentages are negligible and do not vary significantly by size and sector and thus have not been presented on the chart. Figure 4.3: Aims for growth, by size and sector (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases Grow steadily Grow rapidly and aggressively All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) 61 2 Manufacturing (127) Construction (59) TRAD (410) 60 9 Other services (400) 68 7 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q7. Which of the following best describes your company s aims for growth over the next 12 months? Would you say you are aiming for the company to...? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested A quarter of all employers (24) plan to remain as they are. This proportion is significantly higher within micro businesses (those with 2-9 employees) (27) than in larger businesses (15). The proportion of UK SMEs 8 that are aiming for growth in the next 2 to 3 years is similar to the proportion of LLEP area employers that are aiming for growth in the next 12 months (73 of UK SMEs, compared with 71 of LLEP area employers). Although the timescales differ, the statistics are comparable as employers tend to be either aiming for growth or not. 8 Source: SBS 2014, BIS (see Section 2.2: Note on Reporting for more information) 24

31 Business Conditions 4.4 Business planning Half of all employers (50) have a business plan and in most cases it is reported to be kept up to date (82 of those with a business plan; 41 of all employers). Of the remainder, a proportion (16 of all employers) report having an informal business plan, which perhaps does not exist in a written form. A higher proportion (29 of all employers) does not have a business plan. The propensity to have a business plan increases sharply with business size and as business size increases, the business becomes much more likely to keep it up to date. Figure 4.4: Proportion of employers with business plans by size (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases Don't know No - have a business plan but it is informal/not written Yes - kept up to date No - no plan at all Yes - but not kept up to date All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q14. Does your organisation have a formal written business plan? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 25

32 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 LLEP area employers are more likely to report having a business plan than SME employers UK-wide 9 (50, compared with 44), although the inclusion of businesses with 250 or more employees in the LLEP Business Survey will explain the higher proportion locally, as these employers are most likely to have a business plan in place. 4.5 Expectations of business performance Respondents were asked about their business anticipated performance over the next 12 months. This covered a range of business indicators including staff headcount, sales turnover, profits, capital investment and innovation. Employers across the LLEP area indicated a generally optimistic outlook. More than three-quarter of all employers expect increased sales turnover (76) and profits (76) in the next 12 months; while around two-fifths expect an increase in capital investment (43), staff headcount (38) and that they will start offering new products or services (45). More than half of current exporters (54) anticipate increasing the amount they export to other countries. In contrast, just 4 of employers anticipated a reduction in sales turnover in the next year, while 3 anticipate a reduction in their staff headcount. The table below highlights the outlook in each of these areas (except for exporting which was only asked of exporters) by sector. Again, the sectors of manufacturing and transport/retail/accommodation/distribution (TRAD) are most optimistic about the next 12 months, while primary sectors are least likely to be anticipating expansion and improvements in financial indicators. 9 Source: SBS 2014, BIS (see Section 2.2: Notes on Reporting for more information) 26

33 Business Conditions Table 4.5: Anticipated business performance in the next 12 months, by sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers Primary~ Manufacturing Construction TRAD Other services Increase in staff headcount Increase in sales turnover Increase in profits Increase in capital investment Start offering new products or services Reduction in staff headcount Reduction in sales turnover None of these Unweighted sample bases Q10. And in the next 12 months, do you expect your business to have...? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Employers based in Leicester City are significantly more likely than average to anticipate increases in staff headcount (41) alongside being more likely than average to expect increases in sales turnover (80) and profits (79). Employers in Oadby and Wigston and Charnwood are also more likely than average to be expecting an improvement in these areas in the next 12 months, with more than half of employers in Oadby and Wigston expecting to start offering new products or services (56). 27

34 Oadby and Wigston North West Leicestershire Melton Hinckley and Bosworth Harborough Charnwood Blaby Leicestershire Leicester City Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Table 4.6: Anticipated business performance in the next 12 months, by local authority district (all employers) ~caution: low sample base *denotes less than 0.5 Increase in staff headcount All employers Increase in sales turnover Increase in profits Increase in capital investment Start offering new products or services Reduction in staff headcount Reduction in sales turnover * None of these Unweighted sample bases Q10. And in the next 12 months, do you expect your business to have...? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Compared with SME employers UK-wide, LLEP area employers are more likely to expect to increase their headcount in the next 12 months (38, compared with 32), and also more likely to expect to increase their sales turnover (76, compared with 51). A similar proportion of LLEP area and UK-wide SME employers expect to reduce their staff headcount in the next 12 months; these proportions both being very low (3 and 4 respectively), while there is a slightly larger gap between LLEP area and UK-wide SME employers with respect to the prospect of reducing turnover in the next year (4 and 8 respectively). LLEP area employers are on a par with SME employers UK-wide in terms of the prospect of offering new products or services in the next 12 months (45, compared with 48 of UK SMEs). 28

35 Business Conditions 4.6 Perceptions of general business conditions Following on from employers expectations in their own business performance over the next 12 months, they have a generally positive outlook with regard to business conditions across the LLEP area in the short term. Nearly two-fifths (38) expect general business conditions in the area to improve in the next 12 months; with a slightly higher proportion than this (42) expecting conditions to remain unchanged. Just a minority (9) believe that conditions will deteriorate, with a similar proportion (10) not considering themselves able to provide an opinion. Views by business size and sector are largely consistent, but businesses with 200 or more employees are more likely than average to expect conditions to improve (51), while construction businesses are also more likely than average to hold this view (46). Businesses aiming for growth, particularly those aiming for rapid growth, are significantly more likely than other businesses to feel that general business conditions across the county will improve (43 of those aiming for steady growth; 61 of those aiming for rapid growth). Employers based in the districts of Hinckley and Bosworth (49) and Leicester City (43) are the most positive in terms of their outlook for general business conditions, while those in Melton (32) and North West Leicestershire (33) are least likely to expect conditions to improve. 29

36 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 4.7: Expectations regarding general business conditions across the LLEP area, by local authority district (all employers) Don't know Deteriorate Stay the same Improve All employers (1027) Leicester City (309) Leicestershire (718) Blaby (104) Charnwood (103) Harborough (105) Hinckley and Bosworth (102) Melton (101) North West Leicestershire (102) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q11. How do you think that general business conditions in Leicestershire will change over the next twelve months? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 4.7 Concerns and constraints to growth Respondents were asked about any factors that are currently a cause of concern for their business. Their responses were unprompted; that is spontaneous, and as such covered a wide range of issues. Responses are summarised in the following chart which shows only those factors cited by 2 or more of businesses. 30

37 Business Conditions Figure 4.8: Factors that are currently a cause of concern for businesses, unprompted, multiple responses (all employers) Competition in your market 13 Access to finance Cash flow Skills shortages / finding staff Economy/recession Regulation and red tape Public spending/lack of customers General costs inc products/goods/running/training Petrol or diesel costs Parking concerns Business/council costs Energy costs Finding new business Finding suitable premises Interest rates Road works/maintenance HMRC changes inc pensions Cuts in/lack of government/local authority spending/funding Election concerns Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q12. What factors, if any, are currently a cause of concern for your business? 31

38 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Competition in their market stands out as a relatively important factor causing concern (13 of all employers) and is a particular concern for businesses in transport/retail/accommodation/distribution (TRAD) (23). Three in ten employers (30) felt there are no factors currently causing concern for their business. This proportion is significantly higher than average in businesses with employees (37) and higher than average (although not significantly) in businesses with 200 or more employees (43). It varies little by district on the whole, although businesses in North West Leicestershire are significantly more likely than average to say nothing is causing them concern (40), while those in Melton are significantly less likely than average to report no concerns (17). The figure that follows highlights the most common concerns for businesses within Leicester City and across the rest of the county. Although competition in the market is more likely to be mentioned by businesses in the City, compared with businesses located elsewhere in the county, the difference is not statistically significant (18, compared with 12). However, businesses in Leicester City are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere in the county to be concerned about parking (6, compared with 2), while those located outside of Leicester City are significantly more likely than those in the City to be concerned about access to finance (7, compared with 3); skill shortages/finding staff (7, compared with 2) and general costs (5, compared with 2). 32

39 Business Conditions Figure 4.9: Factors that are currently a cause of concern for businesses: Leicester City, compared with the rest of the county - unprompted, multiple responses (all employers) Leicester City (309) Rest of county (718) Competition in your market Access to finance Skills shortages/finding staff Cash flow Economy/recession Regulation and red tape Public spending/lack of customers General costs Interest rates Petrol or diesel costs Business/council costs Election concerns Energy costs Finding new business Parking concerns Nothing Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q12. What factors, if any, are currently a cause of concern for your business? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Respondents were then asked to rate a number of factors in terms of the extent to which they are concerns for their business. A rating scale of 1 to 5 was used, where 1 is of no concern at all and 5 is of great concern. Of these factors, regulation and red tape is most likely to be rated as being of great concern (by 27 of all employers) and, combined with those rating it at 4, is top of the list of factors that are a concern for businesses (rated 4 or 5 by 45 of all employers). Competition in their market is rated at 4 or 5 (as a concern) by 38 of all employers, whilst a similar proportion (37) rate energy costs at 4 or 5. 33

40 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 4.10: Extent to which respondents consider factors a concern for their business (all employers) don t knows not shown 1 - No concern at all Great concern Regulation and red tape Competition in your market Energy costs Cash flow Finding new business Skills shortages/finding staff Broadband speed Petrol or diesel costs Interest rates Access to finance Staff retention Finding suitable premises Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q13. I am going to read you a list of factors. For each can you tell me how seriously you rate this as a concern for your business. Please indicate the extent to which you rate them as a concern on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is of no concern at all and 5 is of great concern. The table below focuses on where factors are considered a concern at all and highlights differences by sector. Manufacturers are particularly likely to be concerned about skills shortages/finding staff, while businesses in TRAD sectors are most likely to be concerned with energy costs. 34

41 Business Conditions Table 4.11: Proportion of employers rating factors 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 as a concern for the business, where 1 is of no concern at all and 5 is of great concern, by sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers Primary~ Manufacturing Construction~ TRAD Other services Access to finance Broadband speed Cash flow Competition in the market Energy costs Finding new business Finding suitable premises Interest rates Petrol or diesel costs Regulation and red tape Skills shortages/finding staff Staff retention Unweighted sample bases Q13. I am going to read you a list of factors. For each can you tell me how seriously you rate this as a concern for your business. Please indicate the extent to which you rate them as a concern on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is of no concern at all and 5 is of great concern. Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Employers in Melton are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere to be concerned about broadband speeds (44 rate this at 4 or 5). Compared with employers elsewhere, those in Leicester City are particularly likely to be concerned about competition (45 rate it at 4 or 5), finding new business (39), staff retention (23) and finding suitable premises (19). Employers in Harborough are more likely than average to be concerned about skill shortages/finding staff (39). 35

42 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Business Support 5.1 Key findings Thirty-six per cent of LLEP area employers have sought external advice or information on matters affecting their business in the last 12 months. This increases to 45 within businesses with 50 or more employees. Professional services, which include banks, accountants and law firms, are a key source for businesses that have sought external advice or information (79). One in four employers (24) has sought advice and information from their local council. Face to face and through a website are preferred ways of accessing business support, although telephone contact comes to the fore as a second preference. In terms of Business Gateway services, employers are most likely to find assistance with selling and marketing their products and services useful (57), followed by: finding suitable training for staff (50); general advice about how to grow their business (50); and website development/social media (49). 5.2 Use of external advice and information Just over a third of all LLEP area employers (36) have sought external advice or information on matters affecting their business in the last 12 months. This compares with 44 of UK SMEs as reported in the Small Business Survey The propensity to have sought advice or information externally increases to 45 of businesses with 50 or more employees. Primary sector businesses are more likely than those in other sectors to have sought external advice or information (65). The likelihood of having done so is higher than average amongst exporters (48) and businesses with skill gaps (43). 36

43 Business Support Figure 5.1: Proportion of employers that have sought external advice or information on matters affecting their business in the last 12 months, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) 65 Manufacturing (127) 36 Construction~ (59) TRAD (410) Other services (400) 38 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q15. In the last 12 months have you sought external advice or information on matters affecting your business? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested LLEP area employers are less likely than UK-wide SME employers 10 to have sought external advice or information in the last 12 months (36, compared with 44). In terms of where employers have sought external advice and information from, professional services, which includes, banks, accountants and law firms, are most frequently cited (79). Family and friends are next most frequently cited (44), above private sector business advisers/coaches/mentors/consultants (40). 10 Source: SBS 2014, BIS (see Section 2.2: Notes on Reporting for further information) 37

44 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 5.2: Sources of external advice or information, prompted, multiple response (Where they have sought external advice or information) Professional Services (Banks, Accountants, Law Firms) 79 Family or friends Private sector business advisor, coach, mentor or consultant Trade Association Membership organisation (e.g. FSB, Chamber of Commerce) Business Support Websites Social Media Government schemes e.g. (UKTI, MAS or Growth Accelerator) Local Council A college or university Voluntary sector advisor or advisory body Non-executive director Other Unweighted sample base = 356 Q16. Have you sought external advice or information from any of the following sources? One in four businesses that have sought external advice or information have sourced this from their local council (24) increasing to 40 of businesses with 50 or more employees. These larger businesses are also more likely than average to have sought advice and information from government schemes (45), trade associations (50) and colleges/universities (50). 5.3 Need for business support All employers were asked how they prefer to access business support and they were most likely to opt for face to face delivery (38). This is the case across all business sizes and sectors. A third (33) opt for accessing business support through a website. This is more likely to be chosen by businesses with fewer than 50 employees than by larger businesses (33, compared with 23). Telephone as a mode of delivery is chosen by 10 of all employers, increasing to 18 of construction businesses. 38

45 Business Support Telephone delivery of business support comes to the fore as a second choice (22), followed by through a website (18) and face to face (16). As a second choice, telephone is more likely than average to be chosen by manufacturers (33). Figure 5.3: First and second preferences re: ways of accessing business support, prompted, multiple response (all employers) Face to face First preference Second preference Through a website By telephone Via leaflets or publications 4 9 Via seminars/workshops Other None of these do not wish to access business support at all/no second preference Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q19. How do you prefer to access business support for your business? Please tell me your preferred way and then your second preference? Businesses that export are significantly more likely than average to prefer accessing business support through a website (42), while a significantly higher proportion than average (21) chose face to face support as a second preference. 5.4 Perceived usefulness of Business Gateway services Respondents were asked how useful their business might find a number of services to be offered by a Business Gateway, which is being set up by LLEP to improve access to business support. They were asked to rate the usefulness of each on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all useful and 10 is extremely useful or essential. 39

46 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Their responses are summarised in the chart that follows, which groups ratings into moderately useful a code of between 4 and 7; and extremely useful a code of between 8 and 10. Figure 5.4: Proportion of respondents that would find services to be offered by a Business Gateway set up by LLEP moderately or extremely useful for their business (all employers) don t knows not shown Moderately useful (4-7) Extremely useful (8-10) Selling and marketing your products and services General advice about how to grow your business Finding suitable training for staff Website development social media Recruitment Accessing finance Developing local supply chains Developing new products or services The opportunity to speak with an advisor and discuss your business plans and issues Research and development Developing a business plan How to work with universities Finding new premises 16 9 Export advice 13 4 Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q18. Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership are setting up a Business Gateway to improve access to business support. How useful would you find each of the following services? Please indicate on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all useful and 10 is extremely useful or essential? The service that is likely to be most useful to employers is that of assistance in selling and marketing products and services. Across a range of 2-8 of employers saying that services would be extremely useful/essential (top rating), this service is rated at 10 by 8. 40

47 Business Support The proportion of employers that would find services very useful, as defined as a rating of 7 or above is summarised in Figure 5.5. Figure 5.5: Proportion of respondents that would find services to be offered by a Business Gateway set up by LLEP as very useful for their business (all employers) rating at 7 or above Selling and marketing your products and services 31 Finding suitable training for staff Website development social media Recruitment Accessing finance General advice about how to grow your business Developing new products or services Developing local supply chains The opportunity to speak with an advisor and discuss your business plans and issues Research and development How to work with universities Developing a business plan Finding new premises Export advice 7 Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q18. Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership are setting up a Business Gateway to improve access to business support. How useful would you find each of the following services? Please indicate on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all useful and 10 is extremely useful or essential? A third of employers (31) would find services to assist them in selling and marketing their products and services very useful (rating this at 7 or above). Around a quarter would find assistance in finding suitable training for staff and website development/social media very useful (24 rate each at 7 or above). Focusing on individual service areas, the types of businesses that are particularly likely to find each useful are as follows: 41

48 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Service ( very useful 7-10) Most interested ( very useful 7-10) Selling and marketing support services (31) Finding suitable training for staff (24) Website development, social media (24) Recruitment (22) Accessing finance (21) General advice about how to grow your business (20) The opportunity to speak with an advisor and discuss your business plans and issues (19) Developing new products and services (19) Developing local supply chains (18) Research and development (14) How to work with universities (14) Developing a business plan (14) Finding new premises (12) Businesses with employees (35) TRAD businesses (34) Businesses with employees (40) Manufacturers (30) Businesses with 2-9 employees (25) TRAD businesses (27) Businesses with employees (26) Businesses with employees (43) TRAD businesses (24) Businesses with 2-9 employees (23) Primary sector businesses (32) Businesses with 2-9 employees (21) TRAD businesses (24) Businesses with employees (21) Businesses with 2-9 employees (21) TRAD businesses (22) Businesses with employees (23) Manufacturers (25) Businesses with employees (22) Primary sector businesses (29) TRAD businesses (21) Businesses with employees (21) Manufacturers (22) Businesses with employees (24) TRAD businesses (18) Businesses with 2-9 employees (15) TRAD businesses (18) Businesses with employees (20) Manufacturers (19) TRAD businesses (15) Export advice (7) Manufacturers (17) 42

49 Workforce and Recruitment 6 Workforce and Recruitment 6.1 Key findings Fifty per cent of LLEP area employers have recruited staff in the last 12 months. This proportion increases to 99 of businesses with 50 or more staff. A quarter of all employers (25) have experienced difficulties in recruiting staff in the last 12 months. This includes 39 of those that have recruited. Around a quarter of those experiencing difficulties (23) have not recruited in the last 12 months, suggesting that for these employers, difficulties have not been resolved. Recruitment difficulties are most likely to have been experienced in skilled trade occupations. These account for around one in five of all hard to fill vacancies (19). Process, plant and machine operatives, personal service and elementary occupations each account for one in six or seven hard to fill vacancies. A lack of the right skills in applicants is the most significant cause of recruitment difficulties (39 of those experiencing recruitment difficulties), with a lack of the required character traits and/or work experience next most frequently cited (24 and 22 respectively). Overall, 15 of all employers report skills shortage vacancies. This increases to 30 of businesses with employees and 43 of businesses with 200+ employees. It is higher than average in manufacturing (22). Two-fifths of employers (42) are planning to recruit in the next 12 months. This proportion is higher than average in manufacturing (51). One in seven employers (14) currently has any staff undertaking Apprenticeships at their site. Far fewer (4) have staff undertaking Traineeships. A third of all employers (32) report it likely that they will offer Apprenticeships in the future and the proportion is lower with regard to Traineeships (25). More than a third of employers (36) offer work experience placement opportunities at their site. Only slightly more (40) indicate the likelihood of doing so in the future. With regard to all three: Apprenticeships, Traineeships and work experience placements, higher proportions of employers indicate it unlikely that they will provide such opportunities than indicate that it is likely. Reasons for not offering these opportunities revolve around lack of need for trainees or an extra pair of hands, no time to train or support the individual and that the business is not a suitable training ground and that staff need to be fully trained. Half of employers (50) have had some dealings with educational establishments. Around one in five have had dealings with schools (22), FE colleges (23) or private training providers (20). 43

50 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Recruitment Half of all LLEP area employers (50) have recruited staff in the last 12 months. This proportion increases sharply amongst businesses that have 10 or more employees; from 39 of those with up to 9 employees to 80 of those with employees and 99 of larger businesses. Figure 6.1: Proportion of employers that have recruited any staff in the last 12 months, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) 29 Manufacturing (127) 51 Construction (59) 35 TRAD (410) Other services (400) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q20. Have you recruited any staff in the past 12 months? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 6.3 Recruitment difficulties A quarter of all employers (25) have experienced any difficulties in recruiting staff. This increases to 39 of those that have recruited in the last 12 months. Nearly a quarter of employers that have experienced recruitment difficulties (23) have not recruited in the last 12 months. It suggests that the difficulties experienced have not been resolved for these employers. The incidence of recruitment difficulties increases with business size to more than half of businesses with 50 or more employees (54). This reflects the greater propensity to be in the process of recruiting staff at any time within these larger businesses as much as it reflects real issues in finding the right people for positions. The proportion is higher than average within manufacturing businesses (30). 44

51 Workforce and Recruitment Figure 6.2: Proportion of employers that have experienced any difficulties in recruiting staff, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) 12 Manufacturing (127) 30 Construction~ (59) TRAD (410) Other services (400) 28 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q21. Have you experienced any difficulties in recruiting staff? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Employers that have had hard to fill vacancies are most likely to report these as being for skilled trade occupations (27 of employers that have had recruitment difficulties). This proportion increases to 40 within manufacturing and 34 within TRAD sectors. Nearly two-thirds of construction businesses that have had recruitment difficulties (64) have experienced them when recruiting for skilled trade occupations (but the sample base is small in this sector). When looking at the occupations in which employers have experienced difficulties in filling vacancies across all the vacancies concerned, we can see that while one in eight employers with hard to fill vacancies have found it difficult to recruit associate professional and technical and administrative and secretarial occupations (both 12), these occupations each account for just one in twelve hard to fill vacancies (7 and 8 respectively). Similarly, skilled trades occupations account for around one in five hard to fill vacancies (19) but have been experienced by more than one in four employers with recruitment difficulties (27). The figure below summarises the proportion of employers that have experienced hard to fill vacancies across main occupational groups as well as the proportion of hard to fill vacancies that have been within occupational groups. 45

52 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 6.3: Occupational groups in which employers have experienced hard to fill vacancies and breakdown of hard to fill vacancies experienced by occupation (where they have had recruitment difficulties/all hard to fill vacancies) Employers that have had recruitment difficulties (292) Hard to fill vacancies (1048) Managers and Senior Officials 1 3 Professional Occupations Associate Professional and Technical Occupations Administrative and Secretarial Occupations Skilled Trades Occupations Personal Service Occupations Sales and Customer Service Occupations Process, Plant and Machine Operatives Elementary Occupations Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q22. What vacancies did you have difficulty recruiting to? Q23. And how many vacancies did you have difficulty recruiting for? Causes of hard-to-fill vacancies Respondents were asked to give the main causes of their recruitment difficulties. Their responses were unprompted. They were most likely to report recruitment difficulties as a result of a low number of applicants with the required skills (39). Next most frequently cited as a cause was a low number of applicants with the required attitude, motivation or personality (24), or few applicants lacking the work experience that was demanded (22). One in seven employers (14) cited low numbers of applicants with the required qualifications and a similar proportion (14) cited a low number of applicants in general. No other cause of recruitment difficulties is cited by more than one in twenty employers. 46

53 Workforce and Recruitment Figure 6.4: Causes of recruitment difficulties, unprompted, multiple responses (where they have had recruitment difficulties) Low number of applicants with the required skills Low number of applicants with the required attitude, motivation or personality Lack of work experience the company demands Not enough people interested in doing this type of job Low number of applicants generally Lack of qualifications the company demands Job entails shift work/unsociable hours Poor terms and conditions (e.g. pay) offered for post Remote location/poor public transport Legislation Cost inc advertising, training Too much competition from other employers Poor career progression/lack of prospects Seasonal work Job Centre Plus is not working for employers Other No particular reason Unweighted sample base = 292 Q24. What are the main causes of these recruitment difficulties? 47

54 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Skill shortage vacancies Without prompting, 51 of employers that have had hard to fill vacancies cited too few applicants with the required skills, experience or qualifications as the causes. Of the 49 that did not, two-thirds (66) when prompted reported that applicants had not been of a sufficient quality. Both respondents that spontaneously reported recruitment difficulties due to lack of skills, experience or qualifications and those that affirmed that they were due to a lack of applicants of sufficient quality were asked if the problems they have experienced were due to lack of skills, qualifications, work experience and the right attitude or personality. Employers were most likely to report a lack of skills (58 of all those that have experienced recruitment difficulties), while fewer report a lack of experience (46), poor attitude (39) and qualifications (27). Overall, 15 of all employers report having had skill shortage vacancies in the last 12 months. This compares with just 4 reported in the UK Employer Skills Survey There is an above average incidence of skill shortage vacancies within manufacturing. Figure 6.5: Proportion of employers that have experienced any recruitment vacancies due to skill shortages, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) 43 Primary (31) 5 Manufacturing (127) 22 Construction (59) TRAD (410) Other services (400) 16 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q26. You said that you have had problems with the quality of candidates. Would you say that they have been lacking.the skills you look for? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested 48

55 Workforce and Recruitment 6.4 Plans to recruit Two-fifths of employers (42) are planning to recruit in the next 12 months. This proportion increases with business size to more than four-fifths of employers with 50 or more employees. The proportion planning to recruit is higher than average within manufacturing (51). Figure 6.6: Proportion of employers that plan to recruit in the next 12 months, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) 84 Primary~ (31) 33 Manufacturing (127) 51 Construction~ (59) 31 TRAD (410) 43 Other services (400) 42 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q27. Are you planning to recruit in the next 12 months? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 49

56 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Trainee opportunities within businesses Apprenticeships One in seven employers in the LLEP area (14) currently employs apprentices. This proportion increases with business size, from 10 of businesses with 2-9 employees to 26 of businesses with employees and 51 of businesses with 200 or more employees. By sector, the proportion of employers that have staff undertaking Apprenticeships is higher than average within manufacturing (19) and other services (18). Employers in the districts of Blaby and Charnwood are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere to currently employ apprentices (21 and 20 respectively). Employers in Melton are least likely to do so (8). As one would expect, there is a strong correlation between providing Apprenticeship opportunities and funding or arranging any other training for staff. A quarter of businesses that have funded or arranged any training for staff in the last 12 months (23) have staff undertaking Apprenticeships. All respondents, regardless of whether or not they are currently providing Apprenticeships were asked about the likelihood of taking on apprentices in the future. A third (32) said it is likely that they would do so, but a higher proportion (50) considered it unlikely. Of those that considered it unlikely, more than two in five (22 of all businesses) were definite in saying that they would not take on apprentices. A further 2 of all employers did not feel their business is suited to providing Apprenticeship opportunities. Employers with 10 or more staff are significantly more likely than average to be very likely to provide Apprenticeship opportunities in the future (22 of businesses with employees; 29 of businesses with and 47 of businesses with 200+ employees). The proportion is also significantly higher than average in the manufacturing sector (21) and amongst employers based in Oadby and Wigston (20) and Leicester City (18). Table 6.7 summarises current levels of provision of Apprenticeship and likelihood of taking on apprentices in the future by size, sector and across the districts. The likelihood of taking on apprentices in the future reflects the propensity to currently provide opportunities. However, a higher proportion of employers in Oadby and Wigston and Leicester City consider it very likely that they will employ apprentices in the future than currently do so. 50

57 Workforce and Recruitment Table 6.7: Provision of Apprenticeships, by business size, sector and local authority district (all employers) ~caution: low sample base Unweighted sample bases Currently have Very likely Quite likely Not very likely Will not/not suited to business Unsure All employers employees employees employees employees~ Primary~ Manufacturing Construction~ TRAD Other services Leicester City Leicestershire Blaby Charnwood Harborough Hinckley and Bosworth Melton North West Leicestershire Oadby and Wigston Q29. Do you currently have any staff undertaking Apprenticeships at this site? Q30. How likely is it that your business will take on (further) apprentices in the future? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 51

58 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Traineeships A Traineeship is an unwaged education and training programme with work experience that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for. Three in five LLEP area employers (61) are aware of Traineeships. The proportion that are aware of them is significantly higher in micro and small businesses than in medium and large businesses: 62 of businesses with 2-9 employees; 60 of businesses with employees; 44 of businesses with employees and 33 of businesses with 200 or more employees. Just 4 of all LLEP area employers currently have any staff undertaking Traineeships at their site. This equates to 7 of those aware of Traineeships. This proportion varies little by business size, although businesses with employees are significantly more likely than average to have staff undertaking Traineeships. All respondents, regardless of whether or not they are currently providing Traineeships were asked about the likelihood of taking on trainees through the Traineeship scheme in the future. A quarter (25) said it is likely that they would do so, but a higher proportion (53) considered it unlikely. Of those that considered it unlikely, two in five (21 of all businesses) were definite in saying that they would not take on trainees through a Traineeship. A further 2 of all employers did not feel their business is suited to providing Traineeship opportunities (undoubtedly the same employers that felt Apprenticeships were not suited to their business). 52

59 Workforce and Recruitment Table 6.8: Provision of Traineeships, by business size, sector and local authority district (all employers/where they are aware of traineeships) ~caution: low sample base Unweighted sample bases (all) Aware Currently have Unweighted sample bases (where aware) Very likely Quite likely Not very likely Will not/not suited to business All employers Unsure 2-9 employees employees employees ~ employees 27~ ~ Primary~ 31~ ~ Manufacturing Construction~ ~ TRAD Other services Leicester City Leicestershire Blaby Charnwood Harborough Hinckley and Bosworth Melton North West Leicestershire Oadby and Wigston Q32. Are you aware of Traineeships? Q33. Do you currently have any staff undertaking Traineeships at this site? Q34. How likely is it that your business will take on (further) trainees through a Traineeship scheme in the future? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested 53

60 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Work experience placements Work experience is a placement on an employer s premises in which someone carries out a particular task or duty, or a range of tasks or duties, more or less as would an employee, but with the emphasis on the learning aspects of the experience. More than a third of all LLEP area employers (36) offer work experience placement opportunities at their site. This proportion increases with business size from 32 of businesses with 2-9 employees to 48 of businesses with employees to 59 of businesses with 50 or more employees. It is particularly high within the other services sector (44). All respondents, regardless of whether or not they currently offer work experience placements were asked about the likelihood of offering them in the future. They were asked about the possibility of offering them to young people or the unemployed. Focusing first on the possibility of offering work experience placements to young people, two-fifths (40) said it is likely that they would do so and a similar proportion (41) considered it unlikely. Of those that considered it unlikely, two in five (17 of all businesses) were definite in saying that they would not take on young people on work experience. A further 3 of all employers did not feel their business is suited to providing work experience placements for young people. 54

61 Workforce and Recruitment Table 6.9: Provision of work experience placements and likelihood of offering them to young people in the future, by business size, sector and local authority district (all employers) ~caution: low sample base Unweighted sample bases Currently have Very likely Quite likely Not very likely Will not/not suited to business All employers Unsure 2-9 employees employees employees employees~ 27~ Primary~ 31~ Manufacturing Construction~ TRAD Other services Leicester City Leicestershire Blaby Charnwood Harborough Hinckley and Bosworth Melton North West Leicestershire Oadby and Wigston Q36. Do you offer work experience placements? Q37. How likely is it that your business will offer work experience placements in the future? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested Employers expressed similar views with regard to the possibility of providing work experience placements for unemployed people. However, they were slightly less likely to consider it a possibility than they were with regard to young people (36 said it is likely). Again, two in five (40) considered it unlikely that they would take on an unemployed person on work experience and two-fifths of these (17 of all employers) were definite in saying they would not do so. 55

62 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Reasons for not offering training programme and placement opportunities The most frequently mentioned reason for considering it unlikely or being unwilling to offer Apprenticeships, Traineeships and/or work experience placements was that the business is too small and does not need staff of this nature (21). Lack of time to provide the right training and support is mentioned by one in six (17) of those that are unlikely to offer these opportunities. One in eight prefers to recruit fully trained/fully qualified recruits (13) and/or needs staff to be fully trained from the outset (12). The underlying basis for many of the reasons given is a lack of inclination to provide training and development. Figure 6.10: Reasons for being unlikely or unwilling to offer Apprenticeships, Traineeships or work experience placements, unprompted, multiple response (where they are unlikely/unwilling to offer any) Small business, no need 21 Don't have the time to provide training/support We prefer to recruit fully trained/fully qualified recruits All staff need to be fully trained Due to the nature/type of business, not suitable inc confidentiality Due to looking to retire We don't take on young people Costs overall inc insurance, induction etc. Lack of/not enough work Not staff requirements/not looking to expand Bad previous experiences with work placements Don't know enough about them/what we'd have to do CRB checks/security clearance Health & Safety Other reason No particular reason Unweighted sample base = 188 Q38. What are the main reasons why you do not and are unlikely to offer Apprenticeship, Traineeship and work experience placement opportunities? 56

63 Workforce and Recruitment 6.6 Dealings with educational establishments All respondents were asked if they have had any dealings with educational establishments. Half of employers have had some dealings with these (50). Around one in five have had dealings with schools (22), further education (FE) colleges (23), or private training providers (20) and fewer have had dealings with higher education (HE) institutions/universities (17) or Job Centre Plus (12). The propensity to have had dealings with any of these establishments increases with business size, such that 87 of businesses with 200 or more employees have had dealings with an establishment. Figure 6.11: Proportion of employers that have had dealings with education establishments, by size (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Schools Further Education College Higher Education/Universities Private Training Providers Job Centre Plus None of these Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q39. Do you currently have any dealings with...? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Employers within other services sectors are significantly more likely than average to have had dealings with schools (31) and FE colleges (34). Overall, 60 of employers in this sector have had dealings. 57

64 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Skills and Training 7.1 Key findings Nearly half of all employers (47) have arranged or funded training for employees in the last 12 months. A third of all employers (31) have arranged or funded off-the-job training, while a higher proportion than this (37) have arranged or funded on-the-job or informal training. The propensity to train increases with business size and is higher than average in sectors that make up other services. The majority of employers that have not trained cite a lack of need amongst their staff. Nearly three-quarters of employers (72) have used external training providers; private training providers mainly (63), with around a quarter having used FE colleges (22). Just 7 have used HE establishments. Nearly three-quarters of employers providing a response (73) found it easy to find training last time they sought it. Just 10 did not. Overall, 66 of all employers identified at least one area in which their staff need to improve their skills. They are most likely to identify a need for marketing or sales skills (31) and technical, practical or job specific skills (29). More than half of all employers (57) plan to train or up-skill their staff in the next 12 months. This proportion increases with business size and includes all businesses with 200+ employees. The skills concerned are most likely to be technical, practical or job specific skills. 7.2 Training activity Nearly half of all employers (47) have arranged or funded training or development for employees in the last 12 months. A third of all employers (31) have arranged or funded off-the-job training, while a higher proportion (37) have arranged or funded on-the-job training or development. One in five of all employers (21) have arranged or funded both. The propensity to have arranged or funded any training increases with business size to 97 of businesses with 200 or more employees. It is higher than average within the other services sectors (55). 58

65 Skills and Training Figure 7.1: Proportion of employers that have funded or arranged training in the last 12 months, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base Any training All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) Manufacturing (127) Construction (59) TRAD (410) Other services (400) Any off the job training Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q40. Over the past 12 months have you arranged or funded any off-the-job, or informal on-the-job, training or development for employees? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 7.3 Reasons for not delivering training Three-fifths of LLEP area employers that have not funded or arranged training in the last 12 months (60) give their reason as no need; all staff are already fully proficient. Rather inconsistently, this includes 17 of all employers who go on to identify a need to improve their staff s skills in some areas. Reasons for not delivering any training in the last 12 months are summarised in the figure that follows. 59

66 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 7.2: Reasons for not arranging or funding any training in the last 12 months, unprompted, multiple responses (where they have not funded/arranged any training) All our staff are fully proficient/no need for training 60 Not needed/no requirement No training available in relevant subject area No money available for training Training is not considered to be a priority for the establishment Own in-house training Size of business/small/family business Arranged/organised by Head Office No employees Managers have lacked the time to organise training Employees are too busy to give training Employees are too busy to undertake training and development Other No particular reason Unweighted sample base = 465 Q41. You mentioned that you have not arranged or funded training for any of this establishment s employees over the past 12 months. What are the reasons for this? 7.4 Use of external training providers Employers that have arranged or funded training in the last 12 months were asked about their use of public and private sector training providers to deliver training. Nearly three-quarters (72) had used FE colleges, HE institutions/universities and/or private training providers. The most commonly used was private training providers (63), while just 7 had used HE institutions/universities. Use of any of these external training providers increases with business size. More than four-fifths of employers with 50 or more employees (84) have used external training providers. 60

67 Skills and Training Figure 7.3: Proportion of employers that have used any specified external training provider to deliver training for staff in the last 12 months, by size (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases Further Education College Private Training Providers Higher Education/Universities None of these All employers (553) employees (218) employees (248) employees (61) employees~ (26) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q42. Have you used any of the following for any training or learning for your staff in the last 12 months? Employers that have undertaken off-the-job training are significantly more likely than those that have only undertaken on-the-job training to have used any of these external training providers (81, compared with 55). Seventy-one per cent of employers that have undertaken off-the-job training have used private training providers, while a quarter (24) have used FE colleges and just 9 used HE establishments/universities. The majority of employers that have used these external training providers report that they met the needs of their business; although FE colleges are least likely to have done so. More than four-fifths of employers that used private training providers and HE establishments/universities give these a rating of 4 or 5. This is in terms of how well they met the needs of their business on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all well and 5 is very well (86 and 83 respectively). The proportion is lower for FE colleges (69). 61

68 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 7.4: Extent to which external training providers met the needs of businesses (where they have used external training providers) Don't know 1 - Not at all well Very well Further Education College (133) Higher Education/Universities (50) Private Training Providers (352) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q43. How well do you think the training provided met the needs of your business? Could you please tell me on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all well and 5 is very well with regard to the training provided by Finding appropriate training All respondents, whether or not they had funded or arranged training, were asked how easy they have found it to source training for their staff. They were asked to think about the last time they sought training and to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all easy and 5 is very easy. This analysis excludes employers that responded don t know, which may have suggested that they have not sought training (thus being equivalent to not applicable ) but not those that gave a rating of 3 unsure, as this was deemed to indicate a neutral response. Of those employers providing a response between 1 and 5, nearly three-quarters (73) found it easy to find training last time they sought it. Just 10 did not. Employers that have funded or arranged training in the last 12 months are significantly more likely to have found it easy to source training than those that have not funded or arranged training; Any training, 87 quite/very easy; no training, 69 quite/very easy. This is also reflected in the trend by business size, with the proportion that have found it easy increasing alongside the number of employees (from 72 of businesses with 2-9 employees to 76 of businesses with employees to 79 of businesses with employees to 86 of those with 200 or more employees). 62

69 Skills and Training There are no significant differences by sector, but responses by sector are shown in the figure that follows. It highlights that employers in other services and construction are likely to have found it easier to source training than those in manufacturing and TRAD sectors. Figure 7.5: Ease with which employers found training for their staff last time they sought it, by business size, sector and training activity (all employers providing a response between 1 and 5) ~ caution: low sample base Not at all easy Not very easy Unsure Quite easy Very easy All employers (870) 2-9 employees (443) employees (333) employees (70) 200+ employees (24~) Primary (23~) Manufacturing (105) Construction (53~) TRAD (333) Other services (356) Any training (530) Any off the job (360) On the job only (170) No training (335) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q44. Thinking about the last time you sought training for your staff, how easy did you find it? Can you tell me on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all easy and 5 is very easy? By local authority district, employers based in North West Leicestershire and Oadby and Wigston were significantly more likely than average to have found it easy to find training the last time they sought it (85 and 83 respectively). 63

70 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 7.6: Ease with which employers found training for their staff last time they sought it, by local authority district (all employers providing a response between 1 and 5) Not easy Easy All employers (870) Leicester City (268) Leicestershire (602) Blaby (85) Charnwood (89) Harborough (86) Hinckley and Bosworth (84) Melton (82) North West Leicestershire (90) Oadby and Wigston (86) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q44. Thinking about the last time you sought training for your staff, how easy did you find it? Can you tell me on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all easy and 5 is very easy? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested In terms of the problems experienced in finding training, three-fifths of those that have found it difficult to find training (61, equating to 5 of all employers) cite a lack of, or no trainers or providers of relevant training courses. Other reasons are mentioned by only a few respondents and include: lack of information/availability about relevant training/courses (7 respondents); cost of training/courses (7 respondents) or difficulty in understanding what was required (3 respondents). 7.6 Skill gaps Respondents were asked if they believe that any specified skills needed improvement amongst their existing employees. Overall, 66 of all employers identified at least one area in which their staff needed to improve their skills. The most frequently identified skill need was that of marketing or sales skills (31), with technical, practical or job specific skills a close second (29). 64

71 Skills and Training Around one in four employers identified management and supervisory skills (27), customer care (27), general IT user skills (26), communication skills (25), team working (24) and problem solving skills (23) as an area where there was a need for improvement amongst their staff. Figure 7.7: Skills which need improving among existing employees, prompted, multiple responses (all employers) Marketing or sales skills Technical, practical or job specific skills Management and supervisory skills Customer care General IT user skills Communication skills Team working skills Problem solving skills IT professional skills Basic literacy Foreign language skills Basic numeracy English language skills Other None of these Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q46. I am now going to read you a list of skills. Please tell me if you think any of them need improving among your existing employees? There are variances by sector as one would expect given the activities that are typically undertaken by businesses in different industries, but few that are statistically significant. The following table presents skill needs by sector. 65

72 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Table 7.8: Skills that need improving among existing employees, by sector prompted, multiple response (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers Primary~ Manufacturing Construction~ TRAD Other services Marketing or sales skills Technical, practical or job specific skills Management and supervisory skills Customer care General IT user skills Communication skills Team working skills Problem solving skills IT professional skills Basic literacy Foreign language skills Basic numeracy English language skills Other None of these Unweighted sample bases Q46. I am now going to read you a list of skills. Please tell me if you think any of them need improving among your existing employees? Respondents were asked about the most significant skill gap within their business. This could be in terms of the number of staff affected or in terms of the impact on the business overall. Their responses are summarised in the figure below. Marketing and sales skills remain the most significant in terms of skill gaps, while general IT skills increase in importance. 66

73 Skills and Training Figure 7.9: Most significant skills gaps within businesses, prompted, single response (all employers) Marketing or sales skills Technical, practical or job specific skills General IT user skills Communication skills Customer care IT professional skills Management and supervisory skills Team working skills Problem solving skills English language skills Foreign language skills Basic literacy Basic numeracy Other None of these 32 Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q47. Which of these represents the most significant skills gap within your business? This could be in terms of the number of staff affected or in terms of the impact on the business overall. In terms of the skills that are represented under the general label of technical, practical or job specific, the list is diverse, varying widely as one would expect by industry. 67

74 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Based on employers mentioning technical, practical or job specific skills, these skills are wide ranging and include the following: Technical, practical or job specific skills (mentioned by 1 or more) Businesses mentioning technical, practical or job specific skills Engineers (civil, installations) 9 IT (development, engineers, technicians, software, digital marketing, e-commerce, web development) Care (assistants, support workers) 6 Building (builders, glazers, window fitters, joiners, carpenters, floor layers) 5 Farming (crop technician, fertiliser specialist, farm workers, farm labourers) 5 Hair and beauty (hairdressers, stylists, beauticians) 4 Operators (machine, CNC, construction machine, fabricators, welders) 4 Chef/catering (chefs, grillers, cooks, caterers) 3 Sport and fitness (instructors, trainers, lifeguards) 3 Designers (architects, product designers) 3 Administrator (clerks) 2 Technicians 2 Mechanics/mechanical/automotive 2 Customer service 2 Drivers (coach, HGV, forklift, delivery) 1 Managers/Supervisors 1 Sales/marketing 1 Production and manufacturing (electrical and mechanical) 1 Elementary Occupations (manual handling, delivery person, labourer, hygiene maintenance) 1 Unweighted sample base Plans to train or up-skill staff in the next 12 months More than half of LLEP area employers (57) plan to train or up-skill their staff in the next 12 months. This proportion increases with business size to all businesses with 200 or more employees. 68

75 Skills and Training Figure 7.10: Proportion of employers that plan to train or up-skill their staff in the next 12 months, by size (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases All employers (1027) employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) 100 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q48. Do you plan to train or upskill your staff in the next 12 months? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested There are no significant differences by sector. However, businesses within the construction sector are least likely to be planning to train or up-skill staff (47) and those within other services sectors are most likely to be (61). By district, employers in Leicester City are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere to be planning to train or up-skill their staff in the next 12 months (62, compared with 55 across other districts). The areas in which employers who plan to train or up-skill their staff are summarised in the figure below. Technical, practical or job specific skills come to the fore in this respect, mentioned by a third (34). 69

76 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 7.11: Skill areas in which employers plan to train or up-skill their staff in the next 12 months, unprompted, single response (where they have plans to train/up-skill their staff) Technical, practical or job specific skills Customer care Marketing or sales skills Management and supervisory skills General IT user skills IT professional skills Communication skills General/regulation training inc CPD Team working skills Health & Safety First Aid Problem solving skills General training i.e. all areas Product knowledge/training Food hygiene/safety inc preparation All areas Basic literacy Basic numeracy English language skills Foreign language skills Forklift training Fire safety/marshal Health & Social Care Manufacturing skills Machinery training inc CNC Social Media Sales training inc age related sales/products Other None of these Not sure Unweighted sample base = 655 Q49. In what skill areas do you plan to train or up-skill your staff in the next 12 months? 70

77 Skills and Training Again, specific technical, practical or job specific skills are diverse and are as follows: Technical, practical or job specific skills (mentioned by 1 or more) Businesses mentioning technical, practical or job specific skills Operators (machine, CNC, construction machine, fabricators, welders) 8 Legal/Compliance (compliance managers, legal secretaries) 7 IT (development, engineers, technicians, software, digital marketing, e-commerce, web development) Managers/Supervisors 6 Engineers (civil, installations) 5 Sales/marketing 5 Customer service 5 Accountancy (Accountants, accounting assistants) 4 Care (assistants, support workers) 4 Building (builders, glazers, window fitters, joiners, carpenters, floor layers) 4 Technicians 4 Elementary Occupations (manual handling, delivery person, labourer, hygiene maintenance) 4 Hair and beauty (hairdressers, stylists, beauticians) 3 Childcare and nursery (nursery nurses, nursery officers) 3 Chef/catering (chefs, grillers, cooks, caterers) 2 Hospitality (bar staff, wait staff) 2 Drivers (coach, HGV, forklift, delivery) 2 Sport and fitness (instructors, trainers, lifeguards) 2 Pharmacy (dispensers, pharmacy assistants) 2 Administrator (clerks) 1 Mechanics/mechanical/automotive 1 Designers (architects, product designers) 1 Production and manufacturing (electrical and mechanical) 1 Unweighted sample base

78 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Transport 8.1 Key findings Reducing traffic congestion is the local transport measure that employers perceive as being most likely to benefit their businesses: 37 of all employers would expect it to significantly benefit them. More access to car parking is the next most beneficial measure (31). More than two-fifths of employers (43) report some impact of planned disruption and this includes 28 that report a financial impact. 8.2 Improvements required Respondents were asked about how the LLEP area s local transport network could better support their business. A list of measures was presented to them and they were asked to indicate the extent to which they would impact on their business using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is would not make any difference and 5 is would have significant benefits. The most beneficial measure is likely to be reducing traffic congestion, rated at 4 or 5 by 50 of all employers. The measure likely to have least impact is that of improving access to suppliers (23 rated it at 4 or 5). These findings are summarised in the figure that follows. 72

79 Transport Figure 8.1: Extent to which local transport measures would be expected to impact on businesses (all employers) 1 - no difference significant benefits Reducing traffic congestion More access to car parking Improving access for customers travelling by car Improving access for employees travelling by car Improving access for employees travelling by sustainable modes Improving access for customers travelling by sustainable modes Improving access for suppliers Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q50. I d now like to ask about how Leicester and Leicestershire s local transport network could better support your business? With the exception of reducing traffic congestion, a higher proportion of employers indicate that measures would make no or little difference to them. Reducing traffic congestion would be particularly beneficial to larger employers (62 of businesses with 50 or more employees giving a rating of 4 or 5, compared with 49 of businesses with fewer than 50 employees), as well as particularly benefiting employers in Leicester City (58, compared with 46 of employers elsewhere). Employers in Leicester City are significantly more likely than employers elsewhere to support most measures, with those across the rest of the county significantly less likely to. Although employers in Blaby and Oadby and Wigston are more likely than average to consider reducing traffic congestion and those in Blaby are more likely than those elsewhere to support improving access for employees travelling by car as beneficial to their business. Employers in Harborough and Melton are the least likely to feel their business will benefit from any of these measures. 73

80 Oadby and Wigston North West Leicestershire Melton Hinckley and Bosworth Harborough Charnwood Blaby Leicestershire Leicester City All employers Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Table 8.2: Extent to which local transport measures would be expected to impact on businesses, by local authority district (all employers) Reducing traffic congestion Improving access for employees travelling by car Improving access for employees travelling by sustainable modes Improving access for customers travelling by car Improving access for customers travelling by sustainable modes More access to car parking Improving access for suppliers Unweighted sample bases Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Significant benefits (rated at 5) Benefits (rated at 4 or 5) Q50. I d now like to ask about how Leicester and Leicestershire s local transport network could better support your business? I am going to read a list of measures; please indicate how they would impact on your business on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is it would make no difference to your business and 5 is it would have significant benefits. Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 74

81 Transport 8.3 Impact of planned disruption More than two in five employers (43) report that planned disruption to the transport network, such as major roadworks, has impacted on their business in the last 12 months. This proportion is significantly higher than average amongst employers in Oadby and Wigston (56) and Leicester City (50) and significantly lower than average in Melton (33) and North West Leicestershire (30). This reflects the fact that employers in rural areas are much less likely to have suffered as a result of planned disruption than those based in urban areas (34, compared with 46). Amongst those that felt some impact as a result of planned disruption to the transport network, 66 report a financial impact, such as a reduction in their sales turnover or increased costs. Again, this proportion is higher than average in Oadby and Wigston (77) and in urban rather than rural areas (67, compared with 59). Just 11 of employers that reported some financial impact of planned disruption report having tried to claim compensation for losses through business rates. These employers are all based in urban areas and mainly based in Leicester City and Charnwood districts. A third of all employers that report impact on their business from planned disruption to the transport network (34) agree that more information or earlier notice would have reduced the impact on their business. As a proportion of all employers: 43 report some impact of planned disruption 28 report a financial impact 3 sought compensation through business rates 15 feel more/earlier information would have reduced any impact 75

82 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Environmental Issues 9.1 Key findings Fifty-three per cent of LLEP area employers have an environmental policy or similar. This increases to all businesses with 200 or more employees. Fifty-seven per cent of employers have done something to improve their energy efficiency in the last 2 years. This increases to four-fifths of businesses with 50 or more employees (79). In terms of taking specified action, employers are most likely to have reduced waste or increased recycling (75), followed by: a reduction of energy consumption (58); reduced carbon emissions (40); and/or reduced packaging (39). A third (32) has reduced the amount of mains water that they use. Overall, 86 of all employers have undertaken at least one of these activities. With respect to environmental and climate concerns, employers are most likely to be concerned about energy security (i.e. having an uninterrupted supply) and extreme weather events. The majority of employers are not concerned about flood risk, heatwave or drought. 9.2 Environmental policies Just over half of LLEP area employers (53) have an environmental policy or similar. This proportion increases with business size to all businesses with 200 or more employees. Employers within primary sectors (75) are significantly more likely than average to have an environmental policy, while those in other services sectors are least likely to have one (49). 76

83 Environmental Issues Figure 9.1: Proportion of employers that have an environmental policy or similar, by size and sector (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) employees~ (27) 100 Primary~ (31) 75 Manufacturing (127) 50 Construction~ (59) TRAD (410) Other services (400) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q55. Does your company have an environmental policy or similar? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested By district, employers based in North West Leicestershire are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere to have an environmental policy (64), while employers in Blaby (48) and Harborough (48) are least likely to have one. 9.3 Activities to improve energy efficiency More than half of employers (57) report having done something to improve their energy efficiency in the last 2 years. This proportion increases with business size to around four-fifths of businesses with 50 or more employees (79). Employers in the TRAD sectors are significantly more likely than average to have taken some steps to improve their energy efficiency (62), while the proportion is also higher than average in primary sectors (70). 77

84 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 9.2: Proportion of employers that have done something to improve their energy efficiency in the last 2 years, by size and sector (all employers) sample base ~caution: low All employers (1027) 2-9 employees (556) employees (365) employees (79) 200+ employees~ (27) Primary~ (31) 70 Manufacturing (127) Construction~ (59) TRAD (410) 62 Other services (400) 53 Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q56. Have you done anything to improve your company s energy efficiency in the last two years? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested More than three-fifths of employers in Oadby and Wigston (64), Melton (63) and Harborough (62) have done something to improve energy efficiency in the last 2 years. The proportion is significantly lower than average in Blaby (46). In terms of action taken to reduce energy consumption, water consumption and waste; employers are most likely to have reduced waste or increased recycling (75), while more than half have reduced their energy consumption (58). Around two-fifths have reduced carbon emissions (40) and/or reduced packaging (39), while a third (32) have reduced the amount of mains water they use. Overall, more than four-fifths of all employers (86) have undertaken at least one of the activities specified. This increases to 94 of businesses with employees and 92 of those with 200+ employees. The propensity to have undertaken any specific activity increases with business size. The differential between micro and large businesses is particularly great with regard to reducing energy consumption. 78

85 Environmental Issues Table 9.3: Proportion of employers that have undertaken any specified activities in the last two years, by size (all employers) ~ caution: small sample bases All employers 2-9 employees employees employees 200+ employees~ Reduced waste/or increased recycling Reduced energy consumption Reduced carbon emissions Reduced packaging Reduced mains water use None of these Unweighted sample bases Q57. Have you undertaken any of the following activities in the last two years? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Compared with employers in other sectors, TRAD employers are particularly likely to have reduced energy consumption (65) and reduced mains water use (45). Employers in other services are less likely than average to have undertaken any of the specified activities; 81 have undertaken at least one, only 32 have reduced carbon emissions and 21 have reduced mains water use. Across districts, employers in Melton are most likely to have undertaken any of the specified activities (93), while those in Hinckley and Bosworth are least likely to have done so (79). 9.4 Environmental concerns Respondents were asked to think about a number of issues linked to the environment and climate change and asked to rate each with regard to how seriously they view them as a concern for their business. A five-point scale was used, where 1 is no concern at all and 5 is a very great concern. Their responses are summarised in the figure below, which shows energy security (described to respondents as an interrupted supply; minimal/no power cuts) is of the greatest concern, with just under half of all employers (48) rating it at 4 or above including a third (34) that consider it a very great concern. Extreme weather events are next most likely to be a cause for concern (39 rating this at 4 or 5, including 24 that consider it a very great concern) while other factors, including flood risk, management of business waste, heatwave and drought are of concern to far fewer employers. 79

86 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Figure 9.4: Extent to which employers are concerned about specified factors linked to the environment (all employers) 1 - Not at all Very great Energy security Extreme weather events Flood risk Management of business waste Heatwave Drought Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q58. I am going to read you a list of factors linked to the environment. For each can you tell me how seriously you rate this as a concern for your business, by using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is of no concern at all and 5 is of very great concern? While employers in TRAD sectors are significantly more likely than average to be concerned about energy security (52 rate this at 4 or 5), employers in primary sectors are significantly more likely than those in other sectors to be concerned about weather related issues; extreme weather events (74 rate this at 4 or 5); drought (45); heatwave (42); flood risk (36 11 ). Flood risk is of greatest concern to employers in Melton (33, including 28 of all employers that rate this at 5). There is little variation in the extent to which this is considered an issue across the remaining districts and no significant differences between rural and urban areas. Employers in Melton are significantly more likely than those based elsewhere in the LLEP area to be concerned about drought, heatwave and extreme weather events; while employers in Leicester City are significantly more likely than average to consider energy security and management of business waste a concern. 11 Not statistically significant 80

87 North West Leicestershire Melton Hinckley and Bosworth Harborough Charnwood Blaby Leicestershire Leicester City Environmental Issues Table 9.5: Proportion of employers that are concerned about specified factors linked to the environment, by local authority district (all employers) rating at 4 or 5 All employers Energy security Flood risk Drought Heatwave Extreme weather events Management of business waste Unweighted sample bases Q58. I am going to read you a list of factors linked to the environment. For each can you tell me how seriously you rate this as a concern for your business, by using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is of no concern at all and 5 is of very great concern? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 81

88 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey Regulatory Issues 10.1 Key findings The majority of employers consider health and safety (87) and fire safety (76) as relevant regulatory issues to their business. Fewer employers consider environmental protection as being relevant to them (57), while those that consider consumer protection (48), food safety (33), licensing of alcohol, taxis, gambling, entertainment or security personnel (17) are in the minority. Just over half of all employers (52) report having been visited by their local council. Twenty-nine per cent of all employers report having been last inspected by their local council in the last year. Regulators are seen as courteous and professional by the majority of employers in the LLEP area (94) and a similar proportion (92) agree that regulators always explain the reasons for their visits to businesses. Employers are less positive when it comes to reflecting on the extent to which they feel they are consulted by regulators when they are developing policies, plans, procedures and service standards (49 agree). Views are mixed with regard to the extent to which regulators understand the pressures faced by businesses: 46 of employers perceive regulators understanding as good; 54 perceive it as limited or non-existent. The majority of employers (71) feel confident in seeking advice and assistance from regulators on regulatory matters. One in six employers (18) are aware of Better Business for all Relevant regulatory areas Respondents were asked to indicate which of a number of specified regulatory areas they considered relevant to their business. These areas are those enforced by their local council or fire service. Most consider health and safety (87) and fire safety (76) as relevant to their business, while fewer (57) consider environmental protection as relevant, less than half (48) view consumer protection as relating to them and only a minority consider food safety (33) and licensing (17) to be relevant. 82

89 Regulatory Issues Figure 10.1: Regulatory areas enforced by local councils or fire services that are considered relevant to businesses, prompted, multiple response (all employers) Health and Safety 87 Fire Safety 76 Environmental Protection (noise pollution, waste control, dog wardens etc.) 57 Consumer Protection, e.g. in relation to fair trading, consumer credit or product safety 48 Food safety 33 Licensing of alcohol, taxis, gambling, entertainment or security personnel 17 Unsure 8 Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q59. Which of the following regulatory areas enforced by your local council or fire service are of relevance to your business? The perceived relevance of regulatory areas varies by sector, with employers in TRAD sectors more likely than average to consider any as relevant (other than health and safety). Food safety is relatively important in primary sectors, while manufacturing and construction businesses are slightly more likely than average to perceive health and safety as important. 83

90 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 Table 10.2: Regulatory areas enforced by local councils or fire services that are considered relevant to businesses, by sector, prompted, multiple response (all employers) ~caution: low sample base All employers Primary~ Manufacturing Construction~ TRAD Other services Health and Safety Fire Safety Environmental Protection (noise pollution, waste control, dog wardens etc.) Consumer Protection, e.g. in relation to fair trading, consumer credit or product safety Food safety Licensing of alcohol, taxis, gambling, entertainment or security personnel Unsure Unweighted sample bases Q46. I am now going to read you a list of skills. Please tell me if you think any of them need improving among your existing employees? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested 10.3 Interaction with regulators Just over half of all employers (52) report having been visited by their local council. This proportion is significantly higher in businesses with 10 or more employees, than in those with 2-9 employees (60, compared with 49). Employers in Leicester City are significantly more likely than those based across the LLEP area to have been visited by their local council (57, compared with 50). By sector, the proportion is higher than average within TRAD sectors (70) and lower within construction (21). Twenty-nine per cent of all employers report having been last inspected by their local council in the last year. This proportion increases to more than two-fifths of businesses with 10 or more staff (42) and those in TRAD sectors (41). Respondents were read a list of statements about regulators; their services, behaviour and relationship with the business; and asked to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with each. Their responses are summarised in the figure below. The figure presents agree/disagree responses only, i.e. excluding don t knows. This simplifies 84

91 Regulatory Issues comparisons between statements as between one in six and one in four respondents did not know, except in the case of Always explain the reason for their visits to my business and officers who visit my premises are courteous and professional, where just 8 did not feel able to respond. Figure 10.3: Extent to which employers agree or disagree with statements about regulators (all employers where provided a response) Strongly disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree Encourage me to seek advice on how to comply with the law that affects my business (849) Always explain the reason for their visits to my business (522) Enforce the law in a way that is fair and proportionate (833) Are consistent in the advice they provide me and the way they enforce the law (802) Coordinate services to minimise unnecessary overlaps and duplication (791) Consult with me when developing policies, plans, procedures and service standards (836) I have a good relationship with Regulatory Officers (797) Officers who visit my premises are courteous and professional (824) It is easy to make contact with the right official in my local council (814) Unweighted sample bases in parentheses Q62. I am going to read out a range of statements about regulators. Can you tell me for each one whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree? Respondents were most likely to agree that officers who visit my premises are courteous and professional (94 strongly agree/agree) and that they always explain the reason for their visits to my business (92). They are least likely to agree that they consult with me when developing policies, plans, procedures and service standards (49 strongly agree/agree; 51 strongly disagree/disagree). Overall, 81 of all employers that provided a response agree that regulators enforce the law in a way that is fair and proportionate, while similar proportions agree that they have a good relationship with regulatory officers (79) and that they are encouraged 85

92 Oadby & Wigston NW Leicestershire. Melton Hinckley & Bosworth Harborough Charnwood Blaby Leicestershire Leicester City Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 to seek advice on how to comply with the law that affects their business (78). Slightly fewer (74) agree that regulators are consistent in the advice they provide and the way they enforce the law. Around two-thirds of employers that felt able to provide a response agree that it is easy to make contact with the right official in my local council (66) and regulators coordinate services to minimise unnecessary overlaps and duplication (64). Table 10.4 presents views by district (based on businesses that have a view). There are few significant differences by district, although employers in Harborough are less likely than average to agree (71) and more likely than average to disagree (29) that regulators enforce the law in a way that is fair and proportionate. This is also indicated to a lesser extent among employers in Melton (73 and 27 respectively). Employers in Melton are more likely than average to agree (87) that they have a good relationship with regulatory officers. Table 10.4: Proportion of employers that agree or disagree with statements about regulators, by district (all employers where provided a response) Encourage me to seek advice on how to comply with the law that affects my business Always explain the reason for their visits to my business Enforce the law in a way that is fair and proportionate Are consistent in the advice they provide me and the way they enforce the law Coordinate services to minimise unnecessary overlaps and duplication All employers Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Disagree

93 Oadby & Wigston NW Leicestershire. Melton Hinckley & Bosworth Harborough Charnwood Blaby Leicestershire Leicester City Regulatory Issues Consult with me when developing policies, plans, procedures and service standards I have a good relationship with Regulatory Officers Officers who visit my premises are courteous and professional It is easy to make contact with the right official in my local council Maximum unweighted sample bases All employers Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Q62. I am going to read out a range of statements about regulators. Can you tell me for each one whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree? Bold font signifies a statistically significantly higher figure compared with the average minus the sub-group tested; percentages in italics signify a statistically significantly lower figure than average minus the sub-group tested Perception of level of understanding amongst regulatory officers There is divided opinion amongst employers with regard to the level of understanding of the pressures faced by businesses that regulatory officers are perceived to have. Across all employers, 37 feel they have a good level of understanding, while a higher proportion still around two-fifths feel that there is limited understanding among regulatory officers. Five per cent feel that regulatory officers have a very good understanding; 10 feel they have none. One in five employers (20) did not know or felt they had insufficient experience to offer an opinion. Based only on those able to provide a view; 46 of employers perceive regulators understanding as good and 54 as limited or non-existent. It varies little by business size or sector, although businesses in TRAD sectors, as well as those with employees are significantly more likely than average to feel there 87

94 Leicester and Leicestershire Business Survey 2015 is a good level of understanding of the pressures faced by businesses among regulatory officers (both 45). Figure 10.4: Employers perceptions of level of understanding of the pressures faced by businesses amongst regulatory officers (all employers) Very good understanding 5 Good understanding 32 Limited understanding 34 No understanding 10 Don't know/no experience 20 Unweighted sample base = 1027 Q63. To the best of your knowledge, which of the following describes the level of understanding regulatory officers have of the pressure faced by your business? Levels of confidence in regulatory officers The majority of employers (71) feel confident in seeking advice and assistance from regulators on regulatory matters. This proportion increases gradually with business size. Although itvaries little by sector, it is lower than average amongst manufacturers (62). 88

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