Wednesday, July 9th, 2003

T The June survey sought views on likely influences on the future Euro Referendum vote, expected changes in employment levels, the Internet for business advice, Clusters and labour market flexibility.

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  • About the respondents

    165 respondents were drawn with the following population characteristics:

    Production & Manufacturing Distribution Services Total
    29.1% 6.7% 64.2% 100.0%

    Turnover ()
    < 1 M 1M-3M >3M Total
    66.1% 20.6% 13.3% 100.0%

    Number of Full-time Employees
    1-10 11-20 21-50 51-100 100+ unknown Grand Total
    41.8 35.8 6.1 3.0% 3.0% 10.3% 100.0%

  • 1. The May Barometer surveys provided some evidence of growth on the number of businesses continuing to warm towards adopting the Euro. This month we asked whether the results of the five tests being used as a determinant by government would influence individual business people in their opinions. Respondents to the Business Barometer (UKBB) were divided - although 33% would be highly or moderately highly affected by the tests, 24% would not be affected at all. The June Business Adviser Barometer (UKBAB) respondents were less sensitive to the tests, with only 25% being highly or moderately highly affected by them, and 28% not affected at all.

  • 2. Looking forward for the next six months, the balance of response is towards increases in the number of companies increasing Full Time Equivalent jobs, with 28% expecting increases, and 15% expecting decreases.

  • 3. Among our respondents 36% use the Internet on a daily basis for business advice, with 40% using it either weekly or monthly. 9% never use it in that way.

  • 4. 'Clusters' can take a number of forms, for example geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and/or service providers, or companies in related industries, and associated institutions (for example, universities, standards agencies, and trade associations) in related fields. 65.5% of respondents are part of a Cluster. Most of those who belong find it beneficial to some degree, with 25% of all respondents finding membership of very significant or significant benefit. The business advisers responding to the Business Advisers Survey (UKBAB) were not so convinced, with only 14% of advisers believing that their clients benefit either very significantly or significantly.

    5. The potential benefits of Cluster-like communication and collaboration are well recognised both among respondents to the UKBB and to the UKBAB, with close correlation between the results of the two surveys:
    1. Highly & 2 (moderately highly) 54% 55%
    3 (Somewhat) & 4 (slightly) 39% 40%
    5. Not at all 7% 5%

  • 6. There was broad correspondence between the results of the two surveys on the topic of labour market flexibility. 47% of UKBB respondents believe that it has become more flexible over the last 5 years, compared to 57% of UKBAB respondents. However, 32% of UKBB respondents feel it has become less flexible, compared to 19% from the UKBAB:

  • 7. Trends The five quarterly Trends questions cover the pressures being felt by businesses responding the Survey. The most recent quarter shows that on average constraint due to skill shortage has increased slightly, while that due to lack of finance has receded a little.

    Constraint due to low market demand increased slightly for the second quarter running, while average growth rate declined a little for the second quarter running. The average expectation of growth over the next quarter is also a little lower, in line with current experience.

    Listed below are extracts from feedback received in Survey BB61 June 2003.

    Comments are listed under sector headings.

    Views expressed are those of individual panellists and may not represent those of the University.

    Production and Manufacturing

    I totally approve of your survey and enjoy studying it. However, do you make any attempt to access the responses you get with relation to the type of business and the more limited marketplace each company operates within. I am in tourism which is in crisis at the moment. Do you look in greater detail at what is happening to the tourism market place. Perhaps a survey comparing the different markets would be of interest.

    I use the internet all the time for researching information but not 'advice' as mentioned in the questionnaire.

    Business Services

    How about questions regarding Business computer/networking systems, accounting applications, manufacturing software usage, bespoke software usage. Network security, firewall, anti-virus etc. Operating systems servers+clients, web/email servers etc.