Research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens has discovered that half of owner-managed businesses (OMBs) in the Channel Islands rated a shortage of skilled staff as their top concern.
A quarter of respondents were financial services businesses, which are acutely reliant these well trained professionals.
“The focus of Channel Island’s businesses on skills could be down to it being more challenging for the Channel Islands to bring skilled professionals to the islands or to train our own. Of course, this situation could also become even more difficult post-Brexit,” said Phillip Callow, managing director at Moore Stephens Audit & Assurance.
Across all of the UK, the survey found 41% of respondents identified a skills shortage as their greatest concern, while the main worry for these owner-managed businesses was Brexit.
The Moore Stephens survey also found that 60% of UK and Channel Island OMBs were confident about the general outlook for 2018, though a high number (78% in UK and 75% in Channel Islands) were concerned about the strength of the UK economy in 2018.
“Our report shows confidence is lacking around the stability of the UK economy, which in itself brings uncertainty,” said Callow. “OMBs need certainty to be able to develop their business and will be hit harder if the economy suffers once the UK leaves the European Union.
“This uncertainty could be the reason why only 20% of Channel Island OMBs are planning to invest in new technology or IT systems. This shows that issues surrounding Brexit and business are not isolated; they have knock-on effects.
“We should support Channel Island owner-managed businesses to alleviate the shortages in skilled staff as this is clearly more of a concern than Brexit,” he said.