Mid-market enterprises punch above their weight

John O'Hanlon
- Leadership - Mar 13, 2015

Mid-sized enterprises in the UK are punching above their weight when it comes to productivity and economic outputs, according to a new report by the accounting software company Sage.

Currently, 26,600 mid-market firms account for just 1.5 percent of the 1.82 million registered enterprises in the UK’s business economy. Despite this, they were found to contribute 17 percent of the country’s total Gross Valued Added output (GVA) in 2014, having experienced growth of 33 percent since 2009.

At the same time, the sector has experienced a surge in employment with 260,000 jobs created over the past six months alone and further growth of 5.3 percent expected over the next five years.

That’s according to Sage’s Economic Impact Report, a comprehensive snapshot of the state of Europe’s mid-market – defined according to the European standard as companies with between 50-249 employees. The research, undertaken with the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Redshift Research, analysed the contribution of mid-sized enterprises to 12 major economies of the EU.

Of all the European countries included within the study, the UK has seen the most growth in terms of mid-market employment in the years since the 2008-9 downturn. Employment figures for the sector currently stand at 3.02 million, but this set to rise to 3.18 million by 2019.

The survey also found that mid-sized enterprises are highly optimistic about the coming year. The overwhelming majority (73 percent) said turnover would stay the same or grow by up to 50 percent. Expectations for hiring were even more buoyant with 70 percent expect their staff numbers to grow in the next year. This was the highest proportion across 12 European countries in the survey.

Jayne Archbold, CEO at Sage Enterprise Market Europe, said: “Mid-sized businesses play a critical role in driving economic growth in the UK, and across Europe. They are ambitious, with high levels of productivity and impressive employment stats. At a time when many businesses were struggling, this sector grew by 33 percent. They should be viewed as the unsung heroes of the economy.

“Looking ahead, an improving demand outlook and easing financial position suggest robust mid-market growth in the medium-term in the UK.”

The poll found that the UK’s mid-market employees are the hardest working across Europe. According to results, 70 percent work occasionally after regular working hours, 55 percent at the weekend, 28 percent on vacation and 26 percent when ill. Just five percent work on none of these occasions, which compares to the European average of twelve percent and, for instance, 17 percent in France.

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