Going for growth in the Gatwick Diamond

05 January 2015

Businesses in the Gatwick Diamond are gearing up for growth according to the latest survey from the area’s business-led partnership.

The Gatwick Diamond Initiative has published the results of its Autumn/ Winter Business Barometer survey, which is used to assess the mood of the business community in the area.  In addition to general questions about economic confidence and access to finance, the survey focused on recruitment and skills issues in the region and implications for growth.

Confidence among businesses is generally high with 70% of businesses expecting to grow business turnover over the next six months.  Nevertheless, the costs associated with that growth are cause for concern and 40% of businesses expect to have to consolidate or reduce their costs.  Businesses are also starting to feel nervous about the implications of a General Election in 2015 and the effect that might have on economic stability.

Rosemary French OBE, Gatwick Diamond Initiative executive director, said: “This survey shows Gatwick Diamond businesses are ‘going for growth’ but there is no room for complacency and access to skilled people with the right attitude to work is going to be vital to fuel and sustain that growth.”

More than 60 per cent of businesses have taken on new staff over the past year and over 50% intend to increase staffing levels further over the next six months.  Although staffing shortages do not appear to be an issue for the Gatwick Diamond, finding people with the right mix of skills and work ethic has been a challenge.  Indeed, one third of recruiting businesses found that applicants lacked the necessary skills, experience and qualities required for the job.  In particular, over a third of businesses said applicants did not have the right attitude to work or lacked motivation, work ethic, or basic common sense.

Ms French said: “The Gatwick Diamond remains an attractive proposition for companies to invest or relocate to the area, and we are fortunate to have access to one of the most educated and skilled labour markets in the country.  However, for employers, it’s not just about qualifications but all round employability.”

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