The Results Are In!

Welcome to our 2022/23 SME Business Survey. Each year, our SME Survey provides a pulse check on the SME landscape.

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Despite economic pressures on SMEs, 2023 still presents opportunities for
growth and development...

In our 2022/23 SME Survey, we selected ten varied questions to understand the key themes while gathering quality, primary research. We surveyed businesses at the end of 2022 that fall into the SME bracket (fewer than 250 employees) across multiple industries, including manufacturing, education, care, hospitality, finance, energy, insurance, property, and pharmaceuticals. With our survey now in its third year, we can see a clear shift in the mindset of SMEs. Financial performance and securing new business will naturally remain at the forefront of owner directors’ minds, but as we know with the cost of living crisis, finances are arguably a higher priority
than ever before.

The Changing SME Landscape: A closer look at the data

This is our third SME Business Survey and offers us the chance to take a look back at how trends have adapted and changed over the previous few years. The UK now finds itself on the verge of a recession which is highly likely to have impacted the survey data for 2023. and swayed the statistics heavily towards a financial focus.

Recruitment and employee retention remain key priorities for SMEs as they continue to focus on their people, as they did in 2022. Understandably, the threat of COVID-19 dominated our previous SME Business Surveys whereas a year on, not a single SME expressed their concern for it.

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  • 51% predict rising costs will be a key challenge
  • 50% stated employee retention will be the most important aspect of people management
  • 70% stated that available finance would have the biggest impact on decision making
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Key themes from the 2022/23 SME Business Survey


Economic pressures are causing employees to evaluate their salaries and benefits and ask for more.

Organisations are offering pay increases and one off bonuses to support their teams; strike action in the transport and education sectors are impacting how and when employees can travel to work.

With businesses making tough decisions on restructures and redundancies, how can SMEs address such challenges?

The cost of living crisis does pose the opportunity for growth however, through employee reward schemes and building on your company culture, even in such uncertain times, SMEs must still try to remain positive and focus on realigning their teams with the long term business goals.


50% of respondents stated that they believe employee retention is the most important aspect of people management, within their business.

Retaining employees is certainly an area of high importance as it can be costly to replace your top performers.

In a recent poll on the subject of reward and recognition, our audience told us that 48% believed a reward strategy could positively impact the number of employees they retain.


Increasing costs and rising inflation throughout history tends to amount to one thing, a recession.

Not surprisingly, our SME owners have expressed that they see recession as a major challenge for the next year (48%).

According to the independent Office of Budget Responsibility, the UK will technically remain in a recession for 2023, predicting an overall
drop of 2% in GDP.

It is not all negative though, with the OBR predicting that the economy will grow in 2024 by 1.3%, now is the time for SMEs to streamline their processes and focus on rebuilding for the predicted better times to come.

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