Jobs: Businesses born in recession are ‘more committed to people’

Businesses born in the depths of the recession are more optimistic and demonstrate greater commitment to developing people than their more established counterparts, a survey says.

The UK Commission Employer Perspectives Survey of 15,000 employers, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, found 71 per cent of young businesses, between one and three years old, are optimistic about their future, compared with only 44 per cent of older businesses (those over three years old).

More than that, around 80 per cent of young growth businesses have recruited new staff in the past year – almost double the overall figure of 43 per cent. Nearly all young growth business provide training for their staff (90 per cent, compared with 73 per cent overall) and they are much more likely to recruit young people and to offer apprenticeships and other formal vocational qualifications.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills said: “These are still early findings, but they bear out what many successful entrepreneurs say, that the best time to start a business is in a recession.

“These young businesses tend to have a resilient and entrepreneurial attitude. In effect, they are making their own luck and resetting the benchmark of exactly what it means to be a successful business. They understand the skills of their staff are a source of competitive advantage and are investing in them for the long term.”

Sean Taggart is a commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and led a management buy-out of his company, Albatross Group of Travel Companies, in 2008, a week after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

He said: “When you’re a young, small company every minute and every person counts. So making sure that your team is equipped and competent to get the best out of every opportunity is top of any successful entrepreneur’s to-do list.”

Copies of the full report, including the methodology, are available to download at