Growth in the number of SMEs in the technical and professional sector has outstripped every other industry since 2010, according to the latest study from specialist challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank.
The research conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), reveals there are almost 40 per cent more legal services SMEs, architects and vets than in 2010.
Other sectors which have seen high levels of growth3 since 2010 are information and communication (33 per cent) and business services (25 per cent). Looking at the UK as a whole, there has been a 17 per cent rise in the number of SMEs from 2010.
The study highlights that despite a lower percentage of start-ups entering retail and construction4, these sectors do have higher numbers of SMEs overall. However these two sectors attributed financial concerns as barriers to growth in their industries which may deter start-ups in the sectors.
Nearly two in five (39 per cent) retail and three in ten (28 per cent) construction companies said competition in the market was the biggest barrier to growth.
The sectors experiencing a higher number of start-ups correspond to those demonstrating a greater level of confidence when it comes to the long-term economic prospects of the industry they operate in – with three in five (59 per cent) accountancy, IT and communication firms saying they feel optimistic.
Mark Sismey-Durrant, chief executive officer at Hampshire Trust Bank, says, ‘Our report identifies the critical role of SMEs within the economy, particularly the many micro firms that are emerging in the UK. It’s encouraging to see SMEs enter all sectors from 2010 – 15 and from our experience many are identifying opportunities for growth in the future. These figures should be seen as a source of optimism for the government in terms of providing employment and long-term economic prosperity for the years ahead.
‘As the government prepares to set out plans for leaving the EU, I urge them to keep the spotlight on smaller companies by creating conditions and opportunities which will support the levels of growth our research has identified.’
Nina Skero, managing economist at CEBR, says, ‘This study is yet another indicator of how strong UK SMEs are and the vital role they play within the UK economy. It’s encouraging to see SMEs across various industries posting a strong performance. This further highlights how vital it is to nurture the optimism they are demonstrating if they are to continue driving economic growth.’