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Losing key staff tops employers’ fears

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More than half of Britain’s mid-size technology companies feel they are at risk from losing skilled employees, according to new research commissioned by leading insurance company Zurich.

And this concern about losing valuable staff rises to 70 percent amongst UK companies with an annual turnover of £25-£100m. Zurich’s research also reveals that companies in this sector rank attracting staff with the right skills as their greatest area of risk. But the good news is that despite these challenges, more than three quarters of them (77 percent) say they feel more optimistic about the future than they did last year.

The new Technology Hazard Warning Report is an in-depth study of owner-managers within the mid-market sector – companies with a £5m-300m turnover – combined with qualitative analysis that highlights the key concerns for UK technology companies and, most importantly, the opportunities and challenges they face in the years ahead. When questioned about growth strategy – against a backdrop of rapidly increasing IT salaries – competition for skilled employees is again shown to be a concern with nearly half (41 percent) saying that retention is their top priority. For smaller companies, the biggest issue for growth strategy is the need to keep up with technological evolution.  49 percent listed this as their top growth priority.
 Other findings included: 39 percent of companies say they feel highly exposed to technology evolution risk – the challenge for companies to keep up-to-date on technological advances. In smaller companies, almost half 46 percent say that technology evolution is a real threat to their business. And 21 percent say that working with emerging markets such as China and India is the biggest opportunity for their business over the next year; second only to innovation of their own products or services. But, 44 percent of larger companies feel highly exposed to the risks associated with emerging markets, specifically the varying regulatory and operational requirements.

Geoff White, Senior Market Underwriter TechMedia in Zurich’s UK General Insurance business said: “From the television to the computer, the UK has always had a strong foundation in technology, and the companies within this sector are of great importance to the growth of the UK economy. This sector provides the opportunity for us to make Britain a highly competitive, or even leading, business nation on a global scale. “However, the research shows that employers in the technology industry are suffering from brain drain and fear this even more for the future, losing skilled employees to overseas competitors, which provide a richer, more challenging environment for them to work in. “While it’s encouraging that technology companies tell us they feel optimistic about the future, they clearly have some real concerns, particularly, recruiting and retaining skilled employees. “It’s essential that both businesses and government work together to overcome these issues in order to ensure British technology companies are able to survive and grow in this fast moving global technology market.”

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