Growth First, Jobs later?
A survey of 500 UK executives by Barclays has revealed that only 41% of small businesses in the UK plan to create new job opportunities in 2011, with the return of sales led growth seen as a forerunner to any future job creation.
In many areas across the UK however, the opening month of 2011 has seen businesses with larger office space requirements flood the market ΓÇô suggesting that while businesses are showing a lack of enthusiasm on paper, the reality is that many businesses are accommodating, or preparing to accommodate a greater number of employees.
Taking Central London as an example, the heralded heartland of economic recovery, data* from the serviced office market shows that office space requirements were significantly higher during January 2011 when compared to 2010.
Looking at the office space requirements of the WC postcode, businesses entering serviced office space during January 2010 had an average workstation (wks) requirement of 4.4 wks, in 2011 however this had increased to 8.3 wks.
Another increase in Central London, while less dramatic, has been recorded in the office space requirements of the EC postcode, where the January 2010 requirement of 7.1 wks increased to 8.2 wks in the same month of 2011.
While Central London is championed as the leading light in economic recovery, the need for greater amounts of office space has not been confined to the capital, with Birmingham (3.3 wks to 5.8 wks), Cardiff (3 wks to 7 wks) and Sheffield (4 wks to 5.4 wks) all recording notable increases in the average workstation requirement of those businesses entering serviced office space during January 2011.
During 2009 workstation requirements had decreased across the UK as the recession took hold, falling from a national average of 5.1 workstations in 2008 to 3.8 workstations by the close of 2009.
Having edged-up to a national average of 4.1 workstations in 2010, could the apparent return of businesses with larger workstation requirements help to push levels back toward those recorded in 2008 during 2011?
* all data sourced from www.officebroker.com