The 3rd annual Suffolk Growth business survey was run from 16 June – 30 June and the results are in.
With thanks to all those businesses that responded, your input and comments help inform and shape discussions on what is needed by our business base and ensure all public sector partners can engage with up-to-date evidence that reflects local demands and issues.
A summary of the key findings:
- 147 businesses from across Suffolk responded to this year’s survey.
- Respondents were predominately small firms (69% have less than 10 employees), independently owned (89%) with the highest sector response received from wholesale, and retail (15%). This breakdown of respondents is similar to that received in previous years.
- Respondents expressed a lower level of business confidence than in previous years – 21% are extremely/very confident about the future, compared to 28% last year.
- The top issues facing businesses remain as cost of goods/services (63%), rising energy costs (61%) and salary costs (44%, up from 33% in 2022).
- An increasing number of respondents stated they had/were developing a skills plan (61% in 2023 compared to 54% in 2022) – with the sector-specific skills remaining the top training need reported by businesses.
- The proportion of respondents currently/looking to trade overseas has remained consistent over the past 3 years, roughly 25%, with the EU remaining the dominant market for their goods and services.
- The number of respondents with a plan to address climate change/reduce emissions has increased to 48%, up from 45% in 2022, with the main actions focused on improving lighting, using a renewable energy supplier and considering electric vehicles.
- Businesses are focused on staff wellness, with 1 in 3 offering activities to support mental and physical health and endorsing volunteer activities.
- Support from the public sector has been taken up on 22 occasions (firms could note more than one type of support) with all respondents noting finance and funding as the most important support needed (49%).