Two-thirds of business leaders say sharpening their digital skills is among their top priorities in 2020, according to a survey by Hitachi Capital Business Finance.
The survey of over 1,200 SMEs revealed that despite a turbulent political environment, confidence is on the increase with 81 percent planning to invest in growth.
The research showed that 69 percent were planning on attending courses next year, with leaders in the manufacturing (82 percent), legal (85 percent) and transport (73 percent) sectors the most likely to say they want training.
Top of the list of development areas was digital skills. Of the business leaders with plans for training, 38 percent said they were after more skills to improve their knowledge of software, the internet and social media. This figure increased to 51 percent of leaders in the retail sector – as even smaller shops increasingly shift online. Marketing and PR was also a big consideration for around a quarter (28 percent) of business leaders.
Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance commented: “Standing still in a business world as competitive as today for most leaders is simply not an option. Businesses will all have specific challenges to address as the market shifts and technology evolves. The best way of staying a step ahead of competitors is to invest in skills across the business.
“Set against a period of unprecedented Brexit uncertainty, the fact that four in five businesses are planning to put money in to grow their business in the New Year, is a further indication of their resilience and determination to succeed.”