Smaller manufacturers predict better times with more sales, jobs and investment

Figures for their barometer round-up suggest two thirds of businesses are expecting to increase sales between now and October. Over 58 percent indicate they are planning to scale up investment over the next six months and 54 per cent highlighted an increased need to recruit staff as well. 

This quarter’s barometer looked at how manufacturers in this sector are recovering from the pandemic and almost half of respondents now expect to return to, or exceed, their pre-lockdown position within three months. 

On the jobs front, although 80 percent of businesses have used the government’s furlough scheme at some point in the last year, only 37 are still continuing to do so. 

The report also reveals that new working practices are being implemented because of the pandemic. Almost half of business leaders are now planning to offer their employees some level of remote working, an increase of 28 percent compared to before lockdown. 

Nick Golding, SWMAS managing director, said: “Small to medium-sized manufacturers experienced a positive quarter’s trade between January and March, with 46 percent reporting an increase in sales, compared to 31 percent in the previous barometer. 

“Over two fifths of manufacturers have said they will continue to offer some form of remote working going forward, which would have been unheard of 15 months ago. These beneficial changes will offer employees more flexibility and, ultimately, a better work/life balance.” 

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