SFA Survey Reveals Recovery Reaching SMEs

16th December 2015

Posted In: FYI

Launching the results of the SFA 2015 Training SurveyLinda Barry, Assistant Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA) said the responses demonstrated that the recovery is finally being felt by small businesses.

“The results of this survey clearly show that small firms are emerging from the ‘survival mode’ of the last seven years and focusing on capacity-building, upskilling and attracting new talent. The post-crisis business landscape is very different from what existed before and small firms recognise that well-trained management and staff are key to the future success of the business.”

The survey demonstrates widespread recognition of the value of training for small firms. Results showed that:

– 85% of small companies have undertaken training in the 12 months to September 2015. This figure was highest in Munster at 97% and lowest in Ulster at 43%.

– One third of small companies say that they have a formal training budget set aside each year.

– Small companies prefer formal training delivered by external providers, although respondents also recognised the importance of on the job training provided by managers and colleagues.

She continued: “The main barriers to small firms engaging in training are time and cost. Managers feel that they cannot afford the time away from their business and that releasing their employees for training is too disruptive. Despite these concerns, online training courses do not appeal to the majority of respondents.”

In conclusion, Ms Barry stated “A particular focus must be given by Government to management capacity.  Half of all small firms fail in the first 5 years, but OECD research shows that this could be reduced by half if significant investment in management capacity and development were undertaken.  This should be a primary focus of the National Skills Strategy and the National Training Fund allocations, as it will have clear results on increased job maintenance and creation.”