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Global mid-sized companies looking to hire: Amex

Decision makers report higher revenues, but most expect cash flow issues.

October 20, 2014   by PLANT STAFF

MARKHAM, Ont. — Conditions are ripe for investments at mid-sized companies over the next six months, but most expect cash flow issues, according to an American Express multinational survey.

The survey, conducted for the charge and credit card issuer in seven countries, reported revenues will be up year-over-year for 66% and most (88%) of the Canadian companies are confident they can access the capital they need to grow. Eighty-one per cent plan to invest in human capital and hire staff over the next six months, with Canada the most likely of the countries to have hiring plans. However, more than 84% expect cash flow concerns to arise over the next six months.

Fifty-nine per cent say they currently have more employees than they did one year ago. Of those currently planning to add staff, 47% say they need to hire to support business volume. Additional reasons for hiring include:

• Seasonal help needed (36%)

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• New business ventures (32%)

• The company finally found the right candidate/positions that they had been trying to fill for some time (26%)

• The company needed more people to delegate to (25%)

Among those who plan to add staff over the next six months:

• 47% plan to hire only full-time employees

• 27% plan to hire only part-time employees

• 12% plan to hire both full and part-time employees

The survey results point to additional optimism for those considering employment. Thirty-one per cent say the main reason they’re able to retain employees is their compensation package (including competitive salary and stock options).

Financial decision makers have a positive outlook on business prospects over the next six months. Fifty-seven per cent expect their business to grow regardless of the economy and 34% have an even more positive outlook, saying they actually see the economy improving and expanding opportunities for their business.

The single most important priority for 47% of Canadian business owners over the next six months is growing their business. As they look to expand, companies believe acquiring new customers (19%) will most help them grow. In addition companies are prioritizing retaining/growing existing customer relationships (19%) and increasing investments in infrastructure (19%), followed by attracting and retaining top talent (17%) and accessing more cash flow/capital (16%).

The most prominent challenge they face is managing expenses/the rising costs of doing business (26%) followed by:

• The uncertain economy (20%)

• Acquiring new customers (14%)

• Retaining/growing existing customer relationships (13%)

• Attracting and retaining top talent and accessing cash flow/capital (each 10%)

• Regulatory and compliance requirements (8%)

Across all the companies surveyed, 66% said their revenues are more than they were a year ago, with 25% saying revenues are the same as a year ago and just 8% reporting they are less when compared year-over-year.

Canadian companies are looking beyond home and operating in international markets. Sixty-six per cent have tapped international markets as a way to acquire new customers; 52% are reaching out to find new suppliers for products/services and 42% are manufacturing products internationally.

Thirty-one per cent plan to increase investments in their sales and marketing functions.

Most of the Canadian companies have been in business for 29 years and employ 2,510 people. Seventy-two per cent are privately owned with 26% being either founder or majority-owned, or partner-owned (26%). Mean revenue is $161.4 million in the last fiscal year.

The survey was conducted in Canada, the US, Mexico, Germany, the UK, Australia and Japan from June 2-19. The online survey sampled 200 Canadian financial decision makers of companies with annual revenues of $5.4 million to $1.1 billion. Margin of error is +/- 5.3%, 95% of the time.


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