A survey of UK manufacturing businesses has shown that 68 per cent expect it to be two years or more before a full economic recovery.
The survey, by insurance group QBE, found that 56 per cent of manufacturing businesses said they would find it difficult for their business to survive if current conditions continued for the next 12 months, up from 40 per cent in 2011.
QBE’s survey, the seventh national survey of UK businesses by the group, also found that less than a third (29 per cent) of manufacturing businesses planned to increase staff numbers during the next 12 months.
QBE said it was concerning that many of the sector’s businesses were relying on being leaner (67 per cent), facing fewer competitors (48 per cent) and better deals from suppliers as their way out of the economic difficulties.
“It’s clear that it remains a very challenging market. However, there are some positive signs that companies are adapting in response to the economic climate, with particular emphasis on innovation and customer service,” Elliot Miller, General Manager National, QBE European Operations, said.
More than half (57 per cent) said they were developing a new product or service, and 54 per cent said they now had greater awareness of their individual customer needs as a result of the economic difficulties. Many of the sector’s businesses believed their operations had been strengthened by the lessons learnt in recent years, with 62 per cent saying the economic difficulties had made them a more efficient business.
Read more about QBE’s survey.