‘Difficult year’ set to cost agri-businesses more than 4000 jobs

More than a third of UK agri-businesses will need to reduce staff numbers over the next year to cope with the effects of flooding, Foot and Mouth and Bluetongue (blue tongue), according to business analysts Plimsoll Publishing.

In its latest annual survey, Plimsoll found the slowdown in the UK economy, coupled with the difficult year many agri-businesses have suffered, could cost the agri-business industry up to 4125 jobs.

Declining sales

Of the UK’s 1499 largest agri-businesses surveyed, Plimsoll found up to 555 would need to reduce staff in some form or other.

About 40 companies had suffered from declining sales, while salaries levels, expected to rise by 4% to an average £26,200 next year, were expected to make 37 companies unsustainable.

Strategic reasons

However, David Pattison, Plimsoll senior analyst, said that while customers, suppliers and competitors may see the job cuts as bad news, they may be made for strategic reasons to boost the company.

“There is a crucial contrast between cost cutting without any obvious focus and scaling back jobs as part of an active programme of management designed to keep the company competitive,” he said.

Encouraging signs

“As the market slows towards the end of the year, companies will use the time to focus on costs. But our analysis shows that the headline-grabbing decisions are only a small part of the story.”

Mr Pattison said the report did highlight some encouraging signs, with jobs being created in the sector through the expansion of 36 companies.

‘Confidence’

“This is further evidence of where good management is creating confidence for the future,” he added.

Copies of Plimsoll’s latest study are available by calling 01642 626422 or emailing c.sherwood@plimsoll.co.uk.

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