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Scottish firms pick productivity, training and hiring as top New Year’s resolutions

Posted: 3rd January 2024

Bank of Scotland survey shows:

  • A third (32%) of Scottish firms make New Year’s resolution to improve productivity as part of long-term plans
  • More than a third (34%) of firms plan to invest in staff training and developing their business in the year ahead
  • Almost half (49%) of firms also expect to hire more staff
  • Almost two thirds (60%) of businesses expect turnover to increase in 2024

New research from Bank of Scotland has found that a third (32%) of Scottish businesses are making New Year’s resolutions to improve their productivity, as businesses signal confidence in more positive macroeconomic conditions ahead. This optimism about the future comes after 2023 being a tough year for businesses, as they faced into high inflation and a sluggish economy.

The data revealed the top three areas where firms are focusing their attention as they head into the new year, with a third (34%) investing in staff training or developing their business (33%), and more than a quarter (30%) planning to increase staff wages.

As businesses take stock of 2023, many are reporting they are looking at ways to ensure they have a healthy cashflow, with a third (31%) of firms reporting plans to keep a closer eye on costs over the next 12 months.

The data also shows that businesses are setting themselves up for growth, by building teams to support new opportunities, with almost half (49%) expecting to hire more staff in the New Year.

With the expectation of inflation continuing to fall, more than two thirds (68%) of firms are confident that they will see their business become more profitable in 2024 compared to 2023.

Almost two thirds (60%) expect their turnover to increase in 2024. Of those expecting an increase in turnover, a quarter (21%) anticipate growth of 5%-10% while another quarter (23%) have eyes on growth of up to 5%.

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for Scotland at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “Scottish firms are entering the New Year with ambitious growth plans, not only to be more productive but also to invest in their teams and the training that will help them flourish.  It’s been a challenging year but the recent easing in inflation and stabilisation of interest rates are helping to create an environment where businesses can look ahead more confidently and put measures in place to boost future growth.

“By taking the time to reassess priorities and manage cashflow carefully, businesses will be ready to benefit from new opportunities and to tackle headwinds more effectively in the future.

“Hopefully the New Year will see demand for our world class industries and services continue to improve and help further support growth for Scottish businesses during 2024.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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