Scottish business leaders positive about 2015 but concerns continue over oil

Scotland’s business leaders are looking with confidence at the New Year, with an overwhelming majority revealing to the Institute of Directors in Scotland that they intend to grow their business next year.

The survey of a group of over 100 IoD Scotland members revealed that 93% of them are expecting growth over the next 12 months, with 97% starting that they felt ‘very confident’ or ‘quite confident’ about the future of their business.

David Watt, IoD Scotland

David Watt (above), Executive Director of IoD Scotland commented:
“This tells us that Scotland’s businesses are mentally geared up for growth. The wider structure now needs to fall into place around businesses to provide the support required to reach their goals.

“This means ‘Team Scotland’ ensuring that nothing – such as red tape, taxation or restricted access to transport links, talented people, technology and support services - becomes a burden on these businesses.

“Scotland is buzzing with potential, and 2015 is the time to harness it.

“The changes that will come about next year as a result of the Smith Commission must be handled sensitively to ensure that political decisions don’t have unintended consequences on business. Change isn’t a bad thing, and our members have shared with us their confidence in the full knowledge it is on the horizon. “

While Scotland’s business leaders were confident about staying power and growth, there were some concerns. Access to talent topped the list (41%), followed by continued political uncertainty (35%) and access to funds (24%).

Mike Bowyer

Mike Bowyer (above), chairman of IoD Aberdeen, agrees that one of the big issues for business in 2015 will be attracting new talent, but that in the North East, there are other pressing matters.

“In the Aberdeen area, where large sections of the economy tend to be heavily influenced by the oil and gas industry, 2015 is likely to be a year of mixed fortunes.  Many businesses provide goods and services to other UK locations and to export markets. These businesses are benefitting from the growth in consumer confidence. Many will also benefit from a reduction in fuel costs as a result of the current low oil price. 
“Businesses that are heavily dependent on oil and gas exploration and production and particularly those that are solely UK focused, 2015 may be considerably more challenging, with the recent oil price slump coming at a time when the industry was already under pressure to address cost escalation.

“If the price of oil begins to recover relatively quickly, the impact of this cycle may not be as severe as some analysts are predicting.”

Over 100 business leaders participated in the survey questions, which asked about plans for business in 2015.
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