Service sector optimism increases

Businesses in the service sector want to take on more staff as optimism rises, according to research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The survey of 151 businesses found that in the 3 months to May 2014, firms in the service sector hired more staff and increased spending on training.

In the consumer services sector:

  • 56% of firms said optimism had increased in the last 3 months
  • 58% said volumes had increased in the last 3 months
  • 47% said that staff numbers were up on 3 months ago
  • uncertainty about sales and demand (25%) was at its lowest level since 2006. 

In the business and professional services sector:

  • 56% of firms said they were more optimistic than 3 months ago
  • 2% said they were less optimistic
  • 45% reported that business volumes were up
  • 30% said staff numbers had increased over the last 3 months.

Katja Hall, deputy director general of the CBI, said:

"With a full year of growth under their belts, service sector firms are more upbeat than they have been for a long time.

"The recovery continues to strengthen with both consumer and business-facing firms taking on more staff and investing in training and IT.

"But a rising number of firms, particularly in business and professional services are having problems finding the right staff. This survey identifies a skills gap as a growing constraint on business expansion in the sector over the year ahead."