- In Smith & Williamson study, a quarter (23%) of tech firms go as far to say that position will improve ‘significantly’
- One in three (32%) firms in this sector will borrow more money in next 12 months to fund growth plans
- While most firms plan to increase headcount, one in four (24%) firms stated that they lack access to the right talent, with software development the skill most lacking
Two thirds (67%) of tech businesses believe their prospects will improve in the next year, according to new data from Smith & Williamson’s inaugural report:Dream bigger: The scale-up moment. In a show of confidence from the sector, a quarter (23%) go as far to say that their position will improve ‘significantly’ over the coming 12 months.
The study also indicated that tech business leaders are growing tired of delaying expansion plans as they wait for the outcome of Brexit. One in three (32%) say they will increase their level of borrowing in the next 12 months to fund growth, with one in ten (12%) saying they would borrow ‘much more’.
The research also confirms that the attraction of tech firms is rising fast among banks and investors, as more than one in three (38%) companies in the sector say access to finance has improved in the last year – four times the 10% of firms which feel it has worsened.
While tech firms are largely positive when it comes to recruitment plans, with 56% planning to increase their headcount in the next 12 months to support growth, one in four (24%) firms did state that they currently lack access to the talent they need. The skill that business leaders in this sector identified as most lacking from potential recruits was software development.
Fergus Caheny, scale-up lead in the tech group at Smith & Williamson, said:
“The UK continues to have a fertile business environment which is being helped by a buoyant world economy. Interest rates remain low, employment is strong, inflation is falling and the cumulative effect of these is contributing to the confidence of our entrepreneurs.
“While the entirety of the UK is a great place to start and grow a business but there are concerns that regional development is falling behind. London has everything that growing businesses need and this creates a clustering effect: businesses of a similar size and type gather together, creating a powerful ecosystem – developing knowledge, generating jobs, increasing access to finance and, as time progresses, a snowball effect occurs.
“AI is the next disruptor for tech and 2018 is the year AI will blossom. It’s started entering the public conscious with devices such as Siri and Alexa but for those businesses willing to take the leap and take advantage of the benefits AI has to offer they could be left facing their scale-up moment. It’s the disruptors, not the established players, who will begin driving growth and change in the tech market in the future.”