Boosting productivity key to NI growth

Cara Taylor of Ulster Bank
Cara Taylor of Ulster Bank

More than 90% of small businesses see boosting productivity levels as important for their business but almost a third of companies are currently doing nothing about it, according to new research from Ulster Bank.

Having a more skilled workforce was seen by firms as the biggest potential boost to productivity (35%), with better equipment or machinery (25%), an improved workplace culture (14%) and fewer distractions (14%) also cited.

Carried out by Perceptive Insight, the survey analysed the growth performance of local businesses with between five and 50 employees across a range of sectors – including food & drink, technology, construction and retail.

“Boosting productivity is perhaps the biggest challenge and opportunity for the Northern Ireland economy, so it is encouraging that over 90% of small businesses recognise the importance of becoming more productive,” said Cara Taylor, business growth enabler at Ulster Bank.

“However, the fact that one-in-three companies say they are not doing anything about it shows that there is still much to be done.”

Sixty-two per cent of firms expected to be impacted in some way by the lack of political stability in Northern Ireland while 61% felt it would impact either a little (29%) or a lot (32%), on the successful development of their business.