CORNISH business leaders predict a small wage increase for most workers next year.
A survey of 120 businesses that attended last month’s Cornish Account Event showed that 36% felt that their wages outlay would remain static for the next year at least, and while all others believed there would be wage increases , the underlying expectation was that this would be modest at around 2% level with only one business looking at wage rises in excess of 4%.
Half of the businesses questioned were expecting there to be no change to their staffing levels in the forthcoming year. However,45% were expecting employee number growth of typically around 5%, and many added that this would be in conjunction with current staff working harder.
The survey was conducted by the Truro office of accountants Francis Clark.
Francis Clark partner, Brian Harvey, who analysed the results said: “This did not suggest that the wage differential between Cornwall and the rest of the Country is likely to be closing soon and that issues regarding affordable housing for workers are likely to remain.”
Economic data for the country for the second quarter of 2014 shows the UK’s GDP to have risen back above pre-recession levels.
An announcement is awaited from the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney on the expected increase in Bank of England Base Rates.
The survey suggests a picture of cautious optimism of the state of the Cornish Economy.
It sought the opinion of a wide range of businesses in the county across a broad selection of the key sectors. It looked at key economic indicators such as expectations of employee number and wages growth, factors restricting growth, areas of opportunity and asked whether the respondents felt that their business was ‘back in the black’.
Mr Harvey said: “Perhaps not surprisingly, when asked where they felt the greatest opportunity for Cornwall over the next 10 years was likely to be, the three most popular sectors were energy and renewables, R&D and IT. “Interestingly more traditional sectors such as agriculture, marine and leisure and tourism were not far behind and many acknowledged that these industries remain key to the county, and questioned the number of job opportunities in the newer sectors.”
Mr Harvey said that the most important questions asked were whether individuals felt that there business was out of recession and whether or not they thought Cornwall as a whole was back in the black.
He said: “From an individual business perspective there was a clear positive message with in excess of two thirds of the businesses feeling that they were out of recession and seeing the green shoots of recovery. Conversely, when considering the position of the county as a whole there was less optimism with only one third feeling Cornwall was back in the black and two thirds feeling that the county’s economy remained fragile and in recession.
“This survey questioned a broad selection of our clients, both big and small and we believe to be very representative of the Cornish economy as a whole.
“Its findings are consistent with what we as a business are seeing and while there is generally an air of optimism, the economy remains very finely balanced”.