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Round-up of the week

Posted on 6th May 2016

CBI forecasts further economic growth

The CBI is becoming increasingly confident about the prospects for the UK economy.

According to the business group's latest Growth Indicator report, private sector growth improved throughout the three months to April.

This was fuelled by improved performances in sectors such as manufacturing, professional services and distribution.

As a result, businesses are confident that output growth will continue over the next three months.

Commenting on the findings, CBI director of economics Rain Newton-Smith said: "There are signs that the economy is picking up as we put the tough start to the year behind us.

"Manufacturing is stabilising, the services sector is performing well, and it’s good to see solid expectations for further growth."

Ms Newton-Smith said the CBI is therefore expecting to see "a bit more wind in the sails of the economy" over the next few months, thanks to factors such as a healthy labour market and low oil prices.

However, she pointed out that a number of obstacles still remain in the economy's path "as our course steadies", such as the possibility of more volatility in financial markets and uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum.

Ms Newton-Smith added that concerns about debt positions in China could also impact on activity over the next few months.

Employers must offer strong values and purpose

Employers need to offer strong company values and a sense of purpose if they wish to be regarded as good companies to work for.

This is the conclusion of Great Place to Work, which carried out a study to determine what encourages sustainable engagement and trust among employees.

The best performing firms demonstrated traits such as strong leadership, a sense of corporate social responsibility, a willingness to give staff a voice and a commitment to learning and development.

This all helped to engender a sense of trust and a willingness to buy into a company's ethos. Indeed, trust levels were said to be just 55 per cent at the average firm, whereas the best performer returned a figure of 85 per cent.

Confidence rises among SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are becoming increasingly confident about their prospects, new research has revealed.

According to the CBI Quarterly SME Trends survey, conditions in the SME market stabilised in the last quarter following a deterioration in the previous three months.

As a result, a sense of optimism is returning among Britain's smaller companies.

In fact, optimism about demand for exports over the next year was stronger among SMEs than it was among larger businesses.

Job satisfaction at two-year low

Job satisfaction levels in the UK have fallen to their lowest point in two years, the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report has revealed.

According to the findings, this has been fuelled by a lack of progression opportunities, not enough of a focus on skills development and weak performance management.

Claire McCartney, research adviser for the CIPD, commented: "Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear.

"Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed.”

To discuss conditions in the labour market and operating environment further, speak to one of our experts here at The Maine Group!