Barriers to Growth Business Survey 2018

Difficulty in finding and retaining skilled staff is one of the major barriers to growth for businesses in St Albans and the surrounding area.

Business is thriving in the St Albans area. Growth expectations, productivity targets and plans to enter new markets are all tracking well ahead of many parts of Britain according to the latest ‘Business Barriers to Growth’ research commissioned by the members of The City of Expertise.

  • 80% of businesses are expecting dramatic or moderate growth
  • Just under 60% are expecting up to or over 10% growth in productivity
  • 54% of businesses plan to enter new markets within 2 years
  • Over 1/3rd of businesses are changing recruitment procedures to accommodate skills shortages

However, there are some serious obstacles to growth. The survey found that difficulty in recruiting skilled staff is by far the biggest of the barriers to growth, ahead of political uncertainty, regulatory change and red tape. Possibly surprisingly, the availability and cost of suitable commercial premises fell into fourth place.

Just over 130 businesses from across the area completed the electronic questionnaire which also showed some innovative ways in which businesses are overcoming their staffing issues, how businesses are using externally raised funds to grow, and where they see new markets. The report also finds that nearly three quarters believe their business lacks expertise in key areas, with sales & marketing, IT and regulatory issues topping the list of internal skills shortages.

Research method: A questionnaire was sent out electronically to the businesses of St Albans and District asking a variety of questions relating to the barriers to growth that they are currently experiencing. The survey received 136 responses from businesses across 10 general sectors, evenly split in size between businesses with 1-5, 6-50 and 51+ employees. Data was collected during March-May 2018.

Click here for the full survey results.