The latest Business Confidence Survey by PVW Partners has just been released and shows Townsville businesses are still quite optimistic despite a slight softening in this quarter’s results.
While the September 2022 quarter reveals an index of 10.1, which is slightly down from the previous quarter of 13.4, PVW Managing Partner, Carl Valentine, says the results provide a positive insight into the expectations of the business community.
“Business confidence in Townsville is proving to be resilient in the face of growing economic headwinds, resource constraints and a change in Federal Government,” says Carl.
Amongst the results, employment was shown to still be a key priority, with both small and large businesses struggling to find appropriately skilled and experienced workers.
“The survey found that 39% of all respondents were looking to employ more people and this reflects the highest score on this element of the index since the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), which is the highest instance recorded in many years of our local businesses,” continues Carl.
Increased expenditure on staff training was also high, something Carl says is likely a combination of employers seeking to retain their current teams and asking employees to expand their new roles due to the lack of recruits.
“Related to the apparent scarcity of new employees, 49% of respondents indicated they expect to increase their expenditure on staff training,” says Carl.
“This expected growth in staff training budgets is unprecedented in the history of the index and is a clear reflection of employers looking to better skill and equip their existing employees.”
The impact of the change of Federal Government on local business was also analysed, with 41% of respondents expecting negative impacts to their business, 23% expecting positive, and 36% not particularly phased by the change.
Carl says further guidance and leadership on key local projects like CopperString 2.0 and the Hells Gates Dam is required from all areas of government to further boost business confidence.
“Strong leadership, stability, and reliability from all levels of government, and within the business community itself, is critical in helping maintain business confidence in the face of some potential economic turbulence, including inflation, increasing interest rates, labour scarcity, supply chain restraints and increasing costs of employment,” continues Carl.
“Business confidence would be better supported by clearly articulated future planning from all government and public sector bodies that business can rely on.”
Image credit: Phil Copp Photography