AS Economics: Economic uncertainty (internet article)

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Current economic uncertainty is more damaging to
employers than the recession
David Woods, 07 September 2010
The research from Berkshire Consultancy probed the views of those tasked with
leading the UK's top 500 companies out of recession and into growth and
examined the impact of today's economic climate on business performance,
workforce engagement and talent retention, as well as offering guidance for moving
forward.
The report found 81% of senior decision makers feel the current business
environment is more difficult to negotiate than the recession.
There is concern that this situation its not only undermining senior management
confidence, but also weakening the relationship between top level executives and
the rest of the company as 72% of respondents admitted it's increasingly difficult to
obtain buy in on management decisions from employees.
Furthermore, according to almost half of those surveyed (47%) the sincerity of the
leadership team has been damaged in the eyes of the workforce and company morale
is down in two out of three firms.
With senior managers battling to cope with the fundamentals of their job,
confidence is at a low with only 14% believing they have the skills needed to match
the conditions. In addition to this, less than half (46%) expect to hit targets and
nearly half (49%) believe growth is unachievable this year.
Following two years of stringent costcutting, a riskaverse culture has taken hold.
Three quarters (75%) of senior management admit they are more risk averse now
than ever before. Green shoots of growth are threatened at the roots as 53% admit
their firm is now too cost conscious to take advantage of growth opportunities.
Complex strategic demands are at the root of the problem with four out of five
respondents trying to meet two conflicting objectives: cutting costs and growth.
Consequently, 73% now fear cost control is actually hampering their organisation's
ability to capitalise on opportunities.

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These conflicting priorities are placing unprecedented pressure on senior executives,
with eight out of ten (81%) are struggling to form clear business plans, 84%
finding it difficult to prepare budgets and forecasts, and 65% say it's impossible to
make accurate performance predictions in the current economic climate. Almost
half (49%) admit to having to regularly shift strategic focus.…read more

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