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Britain’s medium-sized businesses are gearing up for a great 2014 and are starting to recruit strongly thanks to at least four months of strong optimism about the economy reveals the new Vistage Medium-Sized Business Confidence Index (published Monday 20 January 2014).

The research is based on responses by 413 CEOs, MDs and owners of largely medium-sized and larger-small businesses conducted in December 2013 by Vistage (www.vistage.co.uk) the world’s leading CEO organisation (see notes below for full details on Vistage,  the research methodology and detailed findings). 

Key findings from the latest Vistage Mid-Market Confidence Index include:

  • About 72% medium-sized businesses aim to expand their workforce in 2014 (28% have no plans).
  • 28% of those polled intend to recruit steadily throughout 2014 while, since September, the number of medium-sized businesses imminently expanding their workforce has increased by 50% (21% plan to recruit in Q1 2014, compared to only 14% of those polled in September who were planning to expand their workforce in the next quarter, Q4 2013).
  • Owners of British mittelstand businesses continue to be strongly optimistic about the forthcoming year (73% expect the economy to improve, whereas only 2% expect it will get worse – a slight improvement on the high levels of confidence that appeared in its September research).
  • They also felt that 2013 was on the whole a much better year for the UK economy, with 76% reporting improved economic conditions compared with a year ago (compared with only 20% feeling this way when polled at the start of 2013).
  • The expansion of the workforce at most medium-sized businesses is being driven by strong expectations that the better economic times will translate into sales – with 80% expecting an increase in sales revenue over 2014 (15% expect sales to remain about the same, 3% expect them to fall).

Steve Gilroy, CEO of Vistage, said:  ‘Germany’s medium-sized businesses are rightly feted as the reason for its economic success.  By contrast, Britain’s mittelstand companies are the UK economy’s unsung heroes, despite their huge importance to a sustained recovery and sustained job-creation.

‘Many have emerged from the economic malaise of recent years in good health and cash-rich.  Our research shows they are expecting a good 2014 and most have active plans to expand their workforces to take advantage of this – in fact many are doing this already.’