Business person

September small business round up – latest SME news

As businesses complete the third quarter of 2017 and holidaying employees come back to work, here’s our round up of news for SMEs.

£184m of business stock stolen

UK’s businesses are losing stock worth £184m to theft. This alarming fact was revealed in Freedom of Information data obtained from 20 police constabularies. The data uncovered that between 2013 and 2016, some 842,752 cases of business theft added up to £184m worth of stock being stolen. The Federation of Small Businesses fears that the true costs could be higher due to small business owners failing to report crimes to the police – its research found that 26% of smaller businesses believed that it is too time-consuming to report a crime. To deter theft, businesses are advised to boost their crime prevention measures including security alarms, secure entry and limiting risk (e.g. secure storage of expensive items).

New Data Protection requirements

Businesses need to prepare for the European Union’s forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May 2018. The GDPR replaces the current Data Protection Directive 95/46/ec which currently regulates how firms protect citizens’ personal data. The new GDPR deals with key privacy and data protection requirements such collecting anonymised data to protect privacy. It applies to any business that markets goods or services to EU residents, regardless of its own location. Failure to achieve compliance by the deadline will result in stiff penalties – eye-watering fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover for data privacy breaches.  The government is drafting its own bill to transfer the EU’s GDPR into UK law.

September sees businesses prepare for a recruitment rush

Employees may be easing back into work after a summer break but firms across the UK are preparing to recruit more employees.  According to recruitment firm CV-Library the UK experienced buoyant jobs growth of 10.7% across the nation last month compared to the same period last year. It was revealed that the top 3 cities for jobs growth were:

  • Bristol – 45.3 per cent
  • Sheffield – 42.5 per cent
  • Glasgow – 37.8 per cent

Many individual key sectors mirrored this growth with job opportunities highest in social care (26.7%) and manufacturing (24.5 per cent), and followed further down by construction (13.7%) and catering (12%).

And the trend is set to continue into September, already a traditionally busy recruitment month with new graduates seeking work. Positive news for businesses who will however need to stand out to attract the best employees.

Attracting graduate talent

While increased vacancies mean more recruitment, how can SMEs better attract and target new talent? A new York-based business aims to make this easier. This fresh enterprise aims to help start-ups and SMEs identify, target and recruit students and graduates from all over the country. GradIntelligence recognises that SMEs have been poorly served in terms of graduate recruitment and aims to fill that gap. Firms can match up the skills they need to GradIntelligence’s data resources which includes details of graduates’ academic and non-academic achievements.  With current high employment rates, this initiative is another way to help plug the vacancies gap with excellent candidates.

Retirement age dips but expected to rise again

From the other end of the employee spectrum, this month brings the unexpected news that many workers are retiring earlier than they did in 1950. The Department for Work and Pensions has revealed that men left the labour market at an average age of 67 in 1950, compared with 65 now while women are more or less retiring at the same age, 63. Despite these findings, firms can generally expect to accommodate an increasingly older age of retirement following the increase in the state pension age to 68, to be phased in between 2037 and 2039. It all goes to show the complex picture and disparity in workforce demographics. SMEs need to stay on top of their recruitment and plan ahead for changes in their workforce.

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