Scottish businesses aim for productivity boost and growth in 2024

28/12/2023

NEW research conducted by the Bank of Scotland indicates that Scottish businesses are entering 2024 with a focus on enhancing productivity, staff training, and strategic hiring. Despite facing challenges in 2023, including high inflation and economic sluggishness, optimism for improved macroeconomic conditions is prevalent among the surveyed businesses.

A third (32%) of Scottish businesses are making New Year’s resolutions to bolster productivity, reflecting a collective drive for long-term growth. Additionally, more than a third (34%) of firms plan to invest in staff training and business development, while nearly one-third (30%) aim to increase staff wages.

As businesses evaluate the lessons of 2023, a significant portion (31%) is prioritising the management of cash flow and cost control for the upcoming year. Looking toward growth opportunities, almost half (49%) of the firms anticipate hiring more staff in the New Year.

With the expectation of a decline in inflation, over two-thirds (68%) of businesses express confidence in improved profitability in 2024 compared to the previous year. Furthermore, 60% of the surveyed businesses expect an increase in turnover in 2024. Among those anticipating growth, 21% foresee a 5%-10% increase, and another 23% aim for growth of up to 5%.

Martyn Kendrick, Regional Director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, commented on the findings, stating, “Scottish firms are entering the New Year with ambitious growth plans, not only to be more productive but also to invest in their teams and the training that will help them flourish.” Kendrick acknowledged the challenges of the past year and highlighted the recent easing of inflation and stabilisation of interest rates as factors contributing to a more confident outlook for businesses.

He emphasised the importance of businesses reassessing priorities and managing cash flow effectively to be ready for new opportunities and challenges in the future. Kendrick expressed hope that the New Year would bring increased demand for Scotland’s world-class industries and services, further supporting growth for Scottish businesses throughout 2024.

This research sheds light on the proactive measures Scottish businesses are taking to navigate the evolving economic landscape, with an emphasis on sustainable growth, workforce development, and financial resilience.

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