At a glance
- 27% of UK small businesses think there are enough skilled workers in the UK to support British SMEs
- Over half (53%) of SMEs would be against a Brexit
- There is also a serious concern that leaving the EU could damage trade relations with other countries
Only 27% of SMEs think there are enough skilled workers to support Britain’s small businesses.
As we approach the 2017 EU referendum, latest data from Zurich’s SME Risk Index shows that only 27% of UK small businesses think there are enough skilled workers in the UK to support British SMEs. What’s more, less than half (43%) of SMEs only employ people from the UK, with over one in five (21%) SME’s choosing to employ people from the EU.
Majority against a Brexit
As a consequence, over half (53%) of SMEs would be against a Brexit, with a fifth (20%) of British SMEs saying that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on their business.
What is the Zurich SME Risk Index?
The Zurich SME Risk Index is formulated by calculating a mean score against nine different parameters, which asks how concerned management are about each of these. From these scores, an overall mean is calculated to create an index score between 1 and 100, with 1 being “No concern at all” and 100 being “Very concerned”.
There is also a serious concern that leaving the EU could damage trade relations with other countries. One in five (20%) SMEs are concerned about potential changes in trade arrangements with the EU if the UK were to leave Europe, and just under a fifth (17%) of SMEs are concerned that if the UK were to leave the EU, it would also damage relations with countries outside of the EU.
SMEs’ strong concerns
Jason Eatock, Head of SME at Zurich, says: “With an EU referendum on the cards, it comes as no surprise that businesses have strong views on what a Brexit could mean for them. In an environment where many businesses are already struggling to recruit the employees they need, not only are SMEs concerned about a potentially dwindling pool of talent from Europe, they’re also worried that trade relationships could be damaged in the process.
“Small and medium businesses are widely regarded as the life blood of the UK economy, so with the prospect of an EU Referendum fast approaching we hope the outcome will take the needs of UK business owners into account.”