UK businesses are divided over the Brexit outlook with large businesses significantly more optimistic about the future than their small business counterparts, research has found.
The poll by HR and payroll provider NGA Human Resources (NGA HR) and its small and medium-sized small and medium-sized business division, Moorepay, showed that while almost six in ten (59%) respondents working for large businesses expect Brexit to have a positive impact on their business, just 35% of SMBs share this view. A quarter (25%) of SMB employees think their situation will worsen after the UK has left the EU.
Looking ahead, the majority (79%) of larger UK businesses are ready to address the challenges and exploit any opportunities resulting from Brexit, whereas just over half of small businesses (56%) feel the same.
Quizzed on their wish list for a post-Brexit economy, all UK businesses agree that access to the single market is the biggest advantage of EU membership and one that both large businesses (64%) and SMBs (54%) would like to retain.
Opening up trade to new countries and markets is seen as the main advantage of Brexit for both large (70%) and smaller businesses (54%), followed by freedom from EU laws and regulations (both 48%).
The survey claims UK businesses see a break from Europe as an opportunity to free themselves from EU legislation. It says businesses both large and small want more flexibility in hiring agency workers whereas only large outfits (59%) want additional regulation around working hours.
A majority of respondents at large British businesses voted to remain in the EU (53%).
Commenting on the results, Alison Dodd, managing director at Moorepay, said: “SMBs form the backbone of the UK economy and it should be cause for concern that the small business community is increasingly pessimistic about the consequences of Brexit. Most of them don’t like the uncertainty that comes with such substantial changes to the economy and the labour market.
“However, it is important for them to remember that not everything is doom and gloom. By making preparations now and looking at how the Brexit will potentially impact their organisation, SMBs can make sure they make it through the stormy months and years ahead without putting their business at risk.”