Growth tops priorities for mid-sized firms

Amex survey finds most businesses to increase hiring this year.

September 14, 2015   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO — Revenues are up and growth is top of mind for mid-sized Canadian companies over the next year, according to an American Express multinational survey of companies in three countries.

Forty-two per cent of the financial decision makers surveyed cited growth as their top priority over the next 12 months. Fifty-seven per cent are already seeing a rise in revenues compared to last year and 37% are looking to achieve growth by introducing new products or services to acquire new customers.

Almost a quarter of the respondents (23%) cite managing the rising costs of doing business as their biggest challenge and 24% (up from 19% last year) are concerned about not having enough cash flow on-hand to win new business. Another 19% reported concern over the ability to accurately track cash flow.

Seventy-eight per cent of mid-sized companies are tapping international markets where 48% expect to find new customers. Other reasons to venture abroad include: obtaining new suppliers for products/services (34%); saving on costs (31%); and manufacturing products/services (26%).

The top three markets are China (20%), the US (18%) and Mexico (11%).

Eighty-five per cent have plans to hire this year with 38% bringing on full time and 13% part time employees. Sixty-one per cent need to hire to support business volume, compared to 47% last year. Additional reasons for hiring include: new business venture (30%); company finally finding the right candidate/positions that they have been trying to fill for some time (21%); and seasonal help (19%).

Almost half (48%) stated turnover is steady, but not a concern as they continue to retain high performers. Over a quarter (30%) attributed employee retention to mission and culture – an increase of nine percentage points compared to last year (21%).

The companies surveyed in Canada have been in business for an average of 36 years and employ 2,000 people, 77% are privately-owned with 28% founder or majority-owned, or partner-owned (26%).

The survey’s Canadian results involved 300 companies. Margin of error is +/- 5.7% at the 95% level of confidence.

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