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SMEs are failing to prepare for the future

20 May 2013

Succession planning is a growing concern for all business. However, it’s the UK’s SME sector which is failing to prepare for the future as worries about cost, wasted time and internal politics are all causing major stumbling blocks.

Lining up the next generation of leaders to run an organisation can ensure that a company continues to thrive but many SMEs are failing to focus on this business critical issue due to a number of factors. Many SMEs point to the lack of financial resources to tackle non immediate concerns like succession planning, as well as the burden of extra work and the lack of a dedicated people management resource. However, with two thirds of all new jobs created between 1997 to 2007 in companies with fewer than 50 employees the economic importance of the SME sector in the UK is all too evident.

The latest Hays Journal explores how this oversight carries clear business risks and how an unexpected departure can take on a more significant impact the smaller the workforce, as the immediate talent pool from which to source a replacement is so much smaller, and the potential impact is so much greater.

Barney Ely, Director, Hays Human Resources, says, “You don’t need a large HR department to address the challenge of succession planning. It’s the job of leaders and managers to answer some basic questions and put the business in a better state of readiness. They need to ask themselves, which roles are critical? What capability exists in them right now? Who are the potential successors? Whatever the business, succession planning can seem like an unnecessary and uncomfortable chore. However, avoiding these occasionally difficult decisions will only create greater risk as the company grows and matures. With that in mind, in many ways, the key to succession planning is just to start.”

To access the Hays Journal please visit:


About Hays

Note to Editors
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2012 the Group employed 7,810 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2012:

• the Group reported net fees of £734 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £128 million;
• the Group placed around 55,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 182,000 people into temporary assignments;
• 33% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 36% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 31% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
• the temporary placement business represented 56% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 44% of net fees;
• Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

For further press information please contact:
Deepa Bose
T. 020 7259 8821