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Jobs cut and sales decline

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British firms are suffering job cuts, a sharp decline in sales and a freeze on recruiting permanent staff, according to a survey of the UK’s leading business troubleshooters. There’s also been a severe tightening of company expenses.

More than 40% of the interim executives questioned by Alium Partners said their most recent client company was feeling the impact of the credit crunch. They also reported the economic downturn was curtailing expansion plans. 

Alium,  an independent provider of high-level interim executives, questioned 1,072 interims working at chief executive and director level – one fifth of whom were in manufacturing and 15% in financial services. The interims reported the downturn was manifesting itself through: 

  • Tightening on expenses – 49%
  • Downturn in sales – 42%
  • Recruitment freeze on permanent staff – 30%
  • Job cuts – 29%
  • Curtailing expansion plans – 21%
  • Shelving corporate social responsibility projects – 7%
  • Training cutbacks – 7%.

Nick Robeson, chief executive of Alium Partners, said: “Our survey provides a revealing glimpse into the current state of British commerce and industry because interim executives are able to view difficulties objectively. It’s interesting that most interims say a clear strategy (41%) and strong leadership (32%) are key factors in the companies weathering the current economic climate.” 

Most of the interims’ assignments involved transforming or turning around a company or division (57%). They cited ineffective management (42%) and inefficient operations (44%) as the biggest weakness holding back their client organisations, while 21% estimated the value they generated in their last role was worth between £1m and £5m. Asked what level of confidence their current employer had in the economy compared to 2007, 46% said less, while only five per cent said they were more confident.


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