he PwC annual survey of more than 1000 Chief Execs, released to coincide with the Davos Economic Summit, has found that more than 90% of those in the UK were optimistic about their businesses and expect to expand over the next three years. Moreover, 60% of UK CEOs are more positive than they were three years ago, and overall the UK is more positive about future business prospects than Europe. The problems of the EU may be responsible for much of this difference (with QE just about to be launched), but it does also mean that Britain is considered one of the top three places for growth by foreign firms, behind only the USA and China.
All this sounds great for jobs – and it is – but the same UK Chief Execs also sounded a slight note of caution, namely that the ‘skills gap’ would have a detrimental effect on business confidence. Put simply, in some areas of the economy there are not enough skilled people, at all levels, to fill the jobs available. At present, 84% of CEOs are worried about this problem, compared to only 64% in 2014, and the main concerns are around the skills and adaptability of the UK workforce.