Strategic Growth Survey September 2022 results

The Leeds City Region Strategic Growth Programme Survey uses intelligence from the businesses working with the Oxford Innovation Advice team to provide a snapshot of business conditions, challenges and support requirements.

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Results Summary

The survey took place in July 2022, as the economy was starting to see the impacts of the war in Ukraine, with rising energy prices spreading into a high rate of inflation (10%). Employment has remained high with many sectors continuing to face skills shortages.

Overall, the survey found that optimism had started to fall from the levels found in the previous survey in December 2021. Since then, energy prices and inflation continued to rise, likely to further dampen business optimism.

This pattern is reflected in businesses’ anticipated growth and recruitment over the next year. Overall expectations of growth remained reasonably high (more than half expected to grow more than 10%), but this had fallen from 63%, in December 2021,to 54%.

In July most of the respondents (84%) expected to increase in employment in the next 12 months, a similar proportion to December 2021, but the scale of anticipated recruitment had reduced.

The importance of “economic conditions” as an obstacle to growth increased sharply (from 41% to 59%), reflecting rising costs. Challenges in recruiting staff continued to be one of the biggest obstacles (reported by 46%) emphasising the tightness of the labour market.

Overall, there was an increased interest in business support (Figure 2-5). Given the labour market challenges it is not surprising that the main areas of support identified were around training (46%) and recruitment (which had risen sharply from last year to 39%). Access to finance was also an area where businesses would welcome support, with the proportion of businesses rising from 29% in December 2021 to 44%. There was less interest in accessing support to address environmental impacts or to investigate growing exports.

However, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of businesses that have developed sustainability plans. This has risen from 24% to 42%, (higher than reported in the British Chamber of Commerce Environmental & Social Value Survey (September 2021)1 which found that a third (36%) of businesses did not have an environmental sustainability policy.)

The Strategic Growth Programme

The Strategic Growth Programme is designed and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice on behalf of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal - a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across the Leeds City Region.