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The latest Thames Valley Business Barometer saw a record drop in confidence levels during the first half of 2016

Reading, UK, 7th July 2016.

• Just three out of ten businesses feel economic confidence has improved
• Six out of ten businesses said that turnover had increased and six out of ten expect it to increase further in the next six months
• Almost half of businesses have increased headcount in the last six months and over half of them expect it to increase in the next six months
• Almost half of businesses said that their level of staff turnover had not changed

Business confidence in the Thames Valley has registered a sharp fall since the last Barometer in December 2015, with just 32% of companies surveyed stating that confidence had improved versus 56% last autumn. The latest Thames Valley Business Barometer report is published today by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP and PR and marketing agency C8 Consulting.

The report reveals that 32% of business leaders surveyed felt that general levels of economic confidence had improved in the last six months, and 30% suggested that it had deteriorated. 38% of respondents believe that levels of economic confidence had remained the same during the last six months.

In this latest survey, order books, turnover and profitability register stable growth. Six out of ten businesses witnessed an increase in turnover during the last six months, with 64% predicting further revenue growth in the second half of 2016 and half of respondents expecting headcount to increase as well.

On the question of staff attrition, almost half of respondents said that their level of staff turnover had not changed. However, 45% of businesses surveyed saw an increase in staff turnover in the first half of 2016 while only 10% reported a drop.

Simon Brooker, Partner and Head of BDO LLP in the Thames Valley, comments: “Despite the sharp drop in confidence, other Barometer indicators still look healthy. Over half of businesses have seen an increase in their order books, six out of ten have increased their turnover and half have seen a rise in profitability. The trend however is still down from levels we have seen in 2014 and 2015, and forecasts for all three indicators over the next six months have also dropped.

“It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming months. Confidence can change overnight, while actual business performance takes longer to filter through. Future Barometer surveys should give a clearer picture of how current events have really affected businesses in the Thames Valley.”

The latest Business Barometer survey also looked at diversity in the workplace among the businesses in the Thames Valley. Nearly nine out of ten business leaders felt that having a diverse workforce was important, while just 4% thought it unimportant. More than seven out of ten businesses felt that they had a diverse workforce in terms of age and gender, while half felt their workforce had diverse ethnic, educational and social backgrounds. Only 6% of businesses felt that their workforce was not diverse.

Paula Elliott, Managing Director of C8 Consulting, comments: “When we looked at gender in the workplace, women make up more than half the entire workforce in three out of ten Thames Valley businesses but only make up more than half the senior management positions in less than one out of 10 businesses. While four out of ten businesses have seen this proportion rise over the last five years we must ask ourselves what is preventing more women from being appointed to these senior roles.”

Over 100 businesses across the Thames Valley took part in the Barometer survey while Morgan Lovell, Happiest Minds, Rezatec, Ashley House and Cherwell Software are profiled in the report, sharing their perspectives on their own performance and the key challenges they face in the year ahead.

The Thames Valley Business Barometer report can be downloaded from the BDO or the C8 Consulting websites. If you would like to take part in future Barometer surveys please contact ian.white@bdo.co.uk

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About the BDO Thames Valley Barometer
The Thames Valley Business Barometer – a collaboration between BDO LLP and PR and marketing company C8 Consulting – provides a twice yearly snapshot of business and economic confidence in the Thames Valley. This latest survey opened on 30th September and ran until the 12th November 2015. Over 100 local businesses took part.

About BDO LLP
Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP has a clear ambition to be known in the market for exceptional service delivered by empowered people. The 2015 Mid-Market Monitor shows that BDO is the market leader for client satisfaction for the fourth year running – outperforming all its major competitors.


BDO LLP operates in 18 offices across the UK, employing 3,500 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO International network with revenues approaching £400m.

The BDO International network provides business advisory services in 154 countries, with 64,500 people working out of 1,400 offices worldwide. It has revenues of $7.3bn.

About C8 Consulting

C8 Consulting is one of the UK’s premier marketing agency serving clients in the UK and around the globe. With offices in London and Reading, we offer a range of services from high profile event planning and management to public relations to specialist copy writing to website redesigns to media training and marketing design projects. C8 Consulting is a key driver and partner for the Thames Valley Business Barometer, a half yearly survey, which it works on in conjunction with global accounting firm, BDO to measure economic confidence in the Thames Valley. Owner Paula Elliott is vice-chair on the Thames Valley Byte Night Board, Action for Children's national sleep-out event http://www.c8consulting.co.uk/

Media contact

Paula Elliott
C8 Consulting
paula@c8consulting.co.uk
0118 949 7736

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