Region's businesses growing in confidence
By Otago Chamber of Commerce | Posted: Wednesday May 5, 2021
The Chamber's March 2021 Business Confidence Survey has shown that the region’s business confidence is regrowing and businesses are expecting to see their situation improve.
The quarterly survey completed by Chamber members from throughout Otago showed that 47% of respondents expected an improvement in their own business and 37% believe the general business situation in New Zealand will improve in the next six months.
“Given the challenges over the past year, it is encouraging to see that business confidence is regrowing and businesses are looking positively towards the future,” Otago Chamber of Commerce Acting Chief Executive, Nicky Aldridge-Masters said. “Of course, we recognise that some industries have been hard hit by the impacts of COVID-19, but we also know that other businesses are doing well and we believe it’s important to acknowledge the success stories and to share good news about our local economy”.
However, the survey also highlighted areas of concerns for businesses in the region. Results showed that some businesses are struggling to find skilled/specialist staff, with 39% finding it harder to find staff than three months ago. The survey also showed that 36% of respondents considered staff costs the biggest effect on profit.
“It is apparent from the survey that recent changes in employee costs, such as the increase in minimum wage and increase in sick leave, are negatively impacting business,” Ms Aldridge-Masters said.
Average costs continuing to increase also remains a concern for businesses, with 61% of respondents believing costs have increased over the past three months, and 52% believing they will continue to increase over the quarter.
The total hours worked was an area of concern the survey highlighted, with 44% of respondents saying their hours have increased and will continue to over the next quarter. Profitability was also an area of concern, with 38% of respondents reporting it had decreased over the last quarter, and 25% believing it will continue to decrease.
“Unfortunately, increases in cost will need to be compensated elsewhere, either in increased product/service prices or in reduced staffing levels,” Ms Aldridge-Masters said. “The survey also shows that the changing alert levels for COVID-19 have had a significant impact on business so it is important that we do everything we can to stay at Alert Level 1. We need to continue to scan the tracer app everywhere we go, stay home if we are sick, and be extra vigilant with hygiene.”
For the full report please see the PDF attached at the bottom of this article.