Businesses across Wales have reported slower exports and profits growth over the past year, according to the ICAEW – the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
The professional chartered accountancy body has released its quarterly ICAEW Business Confidence Monitor report after talking to accountants in Wales to find out how confident they are about the performances of their businesses and the challenges they are facing.
Demand is a rising concern for companies in Wales.
In the third quarter of 2019 Welsh businesses report growing concerns over marketplace competition (42%) and customer demand (37%), up from 37% and 23% a year ago.
Labour market challenges are also apparent for businesses in Wales. The proportion of companies citing issues with the availability of management (30%) and non-management (34%) skills are both up from a year ago, possibly reflecting a fall in the unemployment rate in Wales to 3.9% in the three months to June 2019.
Martin Warren, ICAEW Regional Director for Wales, said: “Businesses have told us that demand is an increasing problem for them.
“It’s an uncertain time politically and economically, so it could be that consumers and businesses are limiting their expenditure, which is affecting businesses negatively.
“We’ve also heard that businesses are finding it hard to recruit and hold on to the staff they need. With fewer EU nationals taking roles in the UK there is greater competition for all levels of staff and employers are having to offer more generous packages to recruit and retain the best staff.”