Optimism has returned to the North East business community, with most firms planning to take on staff in 2015, a new survey claims.
The research by Lloyds Commercial Banking reveals that 90% of firms in the region plan to increase headcount next year while more than 60% are looking to export markets as the best area for growth opportunities.
The research was unveiled as more than 100 business leaders from across the North East attended the Lloyds Bank Gameplan event in Newcastle to discuss issues that will shape the future of business in the region.
Around nine out of 10 businesses surveyed said they were planning on increasing headcount over the course of the next year, with more than half (56%) believing that a shortage of talent could hold their business back. 89% of those surveyed said that confidence and growth prospects are the highest they’ve been since the before start of the recession.
Mike Mullaney, area director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in the North East, said: “These encouraging results show that businesses in the area are beginning to put the confidence they’re feeling into action, and are predicting growth over the coming year.
“The Gameplan events give us a snapshot view of how businesses are feeling in the area, and help us to understand what the future looks like from our customers’ perspective. This insight is invaluable for us, and it also allows business leaders in attendance to get an idea of where they sit in comparison with other firms across the North East.”
The Gameplan event brought together policymakers, lobbyists, academics and business leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing North East-based businesses.
It included a panel debate chaired by former BBC Breakfast presenter Declan Curry and featuring Neil Armstrong, chairman at Fastflow, Nagma Ebanks-Beni, commercial director at Prima Cheese, Jeremy Middleton of Middleton Enterprises, and Bill Scott, chief executive officer at Wilton Engineering.