According to new analysis from the latest ONS data commissioned by Santander Business Banking, the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have created three times more jobs over the past five years than larger businesses.
From 2013 to 2017 firms with more than 250 employees added around 650,000 net jobs (a 4 per cent increase), compared to companies who employ less than 250 added 1.7 million jobs (a 14 per cent increase). This data highlights how important SMEs are to the health of the UK economy and the country’s current record high employment levels.
Even though large companies are employing more people in absolute terms, 16.47 million people versus 13.96 million for SMEs; by 2030 Santander’s analysis suggest that SMEs will overtake larger businesses as primary employers if the five-year growth continues at the same pace.
However, additional research was commissioned by Santander Business Banking that found a significant number of young people are failing to recognise the potential job opportunities that SMEs offer.
Figures indicated that only 35 per cent of Generation Z and Millennials leaving full-time education say they wish to work for an SME, while an even small proportion, just one in six (18 per cent) want to work for a start-up or micro-business.
Whereas, the most popular career aspirations are to work for a large firm (51 per cent), the public sector (51 per cent) or a global multinational (49 per cent).
Despite this, two-thirds of Generation Z and Millennials said they are concerned about their career opportunities on leaving full-time education, suggesting that many young adults in the UK are not considering the significant role that SMEs play in the economy.
Sue Douthwaite, Managing Director of Santander Business says: “While there are many great roles available working for large companies across the UK, SMEs remain the lifeblood of the UK economy.
“There is strong demand from SMEs for staff and we would encourage people to look at the fantastic career opportunities that may be open to them outside of larger firms.
“As a bank focused on bringing much-needed competition to SME banking, we are supporting thriving SMEs every day who are hiring for brilliant roles across all regions of the UK.”