Growth: Connected Intelligence

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Slowdown or primetime: finding the growth opportunity in adversity through innovation

In a slowdown opportunities may come from the unexpected

With growth projected to remain modest at 1.6% in 2019, CEOs and business leaders grow more cautious by the day.  

That said, last year was far from an economic catastrophe – even with unrelenting speculation over Brexit.

And after resilience prevailed in a challenging year just gone, optimistic UK CEOs still recognise growth opportunities in 2019.

Leaders accept that tough times lie ahead. Winners will be those smart and bold enough to adapt and innovate. An over-cautious approach, or worse still, inertia, during times of crisis is only a temporary measure, and never works in the long run.

Heather Melville, Director of Client Experience

Finding the opportunity in adversity

Partner Kevin Burrowes and Economist Mike Jakeman look at the risk that skills shortages pose to growth and consumers' continuing shift to online.

Duration: 00:01:49

A measured approach to innovation

The economic outlook – in Britain and abroad – calls for an optimistic, yet realistic and measured, approach.

Consumer purchasing power remains reasonable, dropping 0.2% on last year compared with a 3.2% drop overall since 2016. In contrast, unemployment should stay at the low it has encouragingly maintained.

For companies that successfully adapt to new and innovative technologies, whilst also getting the basics of control and product offerings right, there will continue to be strong growth opportunity this year.

Organisations more focused on sophisticated diligence, pre-planning and examining opportunities are significantly more likely to create value in the long term.

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Industry views: key issues affecting your business

What is the impact of the key growth issues for your industry? We’ve gathered the headlines below.

Whether you build or buy, keep an eye on your skills

Other potential opportunities lie in more comprehensive Merger and Acquisition (M&A) value planning; organisations more focused on sophisticated diligence, pre-planning and examining value creation opportunities are significantly more likely to create value in the long term.

In contrast, UK CEOs cite a lack of key skills as the top threat to growth in the next 12 months, with skills shortages pushing up the cost of labour. 60% of UK CEOs who are extremely concerned about the availability of key skills feel people costs are rising by more than expected. This is supported by the UK’s pay growth rise of 3.1% in the past year, the highest increase in almost a decade.

Looking further ahead, average UK growth may remain subdued – around 1.75% per annum in the 2020s. This allows for the effects of an ageing population, where state spending on pensions and health and social care will rise.

Leaders accept that challenging times lie ahead. With optimism tempered by cautious decision making more than ever before, adaptation and innovation will be the key to future success.

UK CEOs cite a lack of key skills as the top threat to growth in the next 12 months, with skills shortages pushing up the cost of labour.

John Hawksworth John Hawksworth

John Hawksworth

Chief Economist

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