Business NSW survey shows 23% respondents expecting to cut staff

'Business confidence in NSW remains soft in the third quarter of 2023 amid ongoing economic uncertainties'

Business NSW survey shows 23% respondents expecting to cut staff

A recent survey by Business NSW shows that 23% of respondents are expecting to need to cut staff within the next three months.

Of the 1,002 responses to the Business Conditions Survey, which was conducted during 1-14 August, 62% intend to retain the same number of staff and just 15% expect to be hiring.

The report showed that businesses remain highly cautious about customer spending, but that concerns over the impact of interest rates are subsiding.

‘Business confidence in NSW remains soft in the third quarter of 2023 amid ongoing economic uncertainties’ the report reads.

As part of the survey, respondents rated their prospects for the financial year 2023-24, with the most common response - from 24% of all replies - indicating organisations expecting to have just enough business to survive.

Reduced concern over interest rates comes after two successive months without rate hikes, following 12 previous cash rate increases since May 2022, but the Business Conditions Report notes caution still remains regarding the impact of current interest rates on customer spending.

The survey also asked businesses to nominate the optimal number of days felt suitable for staff to work from home, considered from a productivity perspective. ‘Where working from home is feasible, 29% of respondents consider not working from home at all is best for staff productivity’ says the report. Working from home one day a week was considered ideal by 20% of respondents, with 19% also supporting five days a week.

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter is reported as saying ‘a multi-speed business environment’ has emerged ‘in which some enterprises expected to shut down as other anticipated good trading conditions ahead’.  He’s quoted as saying: “While the worries about interest rates are subsiding, consumers’ reluctance to spend remains a key risk to the business outlook.”   

Business NSW is an independent, not-for-profit organisation forming an alliance network of more than 200 Chambers of Commerce across NSW.

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