One in three firms will hire staff

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 11:17 19/11/2012

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One in three Christchurch firms intend hiring more staff in the next year and remain optimistic despite battling council red tape and insurance woes, says a new survey.

The BNZ bank survey of small and medium sized businesses in Christchurch found that despite the earthquake challenges of the last two years the majority plan to stay in the region.

A nationwide BNZ Spotlight on SMEs Report, examines, among other things, the effects of the Canterbury earthquakes on businesses in the region.

The majority of Christchurch respondents have changed the way they operate their business, and 83 per cent were not planning to move out of the city in the next 12 months, according to the bank.

Red tape and insurance premiums were the biggest barriers to doing business in Christchurch, the BNZ survey organisers said.

But the survey found nearly one in three of the respondents plan to hire in the next year.

BNZ director of retail Andy Symons said nearly 60 per cent of respondents reported the earthquake changed the way their business operated, with effects ranging from redundancies, losing customers and having to relocate.

"Business owners have had to take a number of actions including chasing sales out of the region, operating from home due to high rents and cutting expenditure."

However, the challenges had not reduced the business owners' commitment to Christchurch, Symons said.

"It's shown what we've known all along as we worked alongside our customers recovering from the earthquake. Christchurch SME owners are strong characters. They're incredibly stoic and have stuck with their city, through thick and thin.

''Even though it had been a tough time, nearly 80 per cent of Christchurch respondents said they were planning on staying in Christchurch."

This was a positive stance, especially as the city geared up for the rebuild, Symons said.

 

Optimism and business outlook among business owners in the city outstripped the survey's national result by a significant margin, he added.

In the survey 44 per cent of Christchurch businesses reported they were growing compared to just 36 per cent nationally.

A further 31 per cent of Christchurch businesses expected to grow sometime in the future, compared to 34 per cent nationally.

Business owners were ramping up their hiring intentions, Symons said.

"One in three business owners intend to hire additional staff in the next 12 months, well ahead of those from other centres.''

However, Christchurch SME owners were well aware of recruitment challenges.

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''More than half of those in the survey expect it will be harder than it was 12 months ago to find staff with the right skills and experience for their business."

Business owners said there were major barriers to doing business in Christchurch, with council red tape and insurance premiums the top concerns.

- The Press

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