Survey reveals greatest challenges faced by SMEs due to Covid-19

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12th February 2021 15:02 - Business Support

Survey reveals greatest challenges faced by SMEs due to Covid-19: A survey of SMEs has highlighted the main challenges faced by a range of different sectors in 2020, as well as the predicted challenges for the year ahead.

The research was conducted by business insurance specialist Hiscox, and polled 1,000 SME business decision makers.

The ability to drive business in 2021 was the main concern revealed by respondents (38%), followed by the mental health and wellbeing of staff (32%).

Other challenges businesses are expecting in 2021 include customer retention (28%), risk of closure (26%), staff retention (24%), employee development (21%) and revenue forecasting (21%).

Main challenges in 2020

Looking back to last year (2020), employee mental health and wellbeing was the main challenge for those in teaching and education (45%), healthcare (42%), IT (44%) and retail sector (44%), as well as in the charity sector (36%).

Staff retention was the top concern in accountancy, banking and finance (46%), business consulting and management (35%) and energy and utilities (31%), while for hospitality and events management, risk of closure was the top challenge (56%) cited.  For engineering and manufacturing 'generating revenue' was the leading challenge.

Main challenges in 2021

Whereas in 2020, just engineering and manufacturing said generating revenue was their primary challenge, in 2021 it is the main concern for two-fifths (40%) of the 10 sectors polled. Hospitality and events management (48%), IT (48%), Retail (48%) and teaching and education (48%) all cited generating income as the most pressing challenge.

Employee health and wellbeing was the top concern for the healthcare sector (34%), as well as engineering and manufacturing (38%), energy and utilities (36%) and the charity sector (43%), while staff retention came top for accountancy, banking and finance (41%) as well as business, consulting and management (38%).

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