In Part 2, respondents reveal the strategies and goals they have set for their own businesses in 2001, including projections for company profits, revenues, work force expansion, capital financing, company growth and international activity.

Revenues and Profits

Respondents were asked to indicate whether and the extent to which they expect turnover and profits to change in 2001

A great majority of the companies surveyed indicated increased expectations in turnover (36 companies or 80% percent) and profitability (35 companies or 78%) in 2001 despite their gloomy outlook for the economy.

Only six respondents or thirteen percent (13%) anticipate decreases in turnover whilst seven or fifteen percent (15%) expect a decrease in profits.

These expectations are much more optimistic than the previous Survey when only sixty-six percent (66%) and fifty-three percent (53%) of the respondents expected increases in turnover and profitability respectively. Twenty-six percent (26%) had anticipated decreases in turnover whilst thirty-two percent (32%) expected decreases in profitability.

Ram & McRae’s Comments

These expectations are much more optimistic than the previous Survey when only sixty-six percent (66%) and fifty-three percent (53%) of the respondents expected increases in turnover and profitability respectively. Twenty six percent (26%) had anticipated decreases in turnover whilst thirty-two percent (32%) expected decreases in profitability.

Respondents were asked to identify the likely sources for the expected increase in turnover

Companies expecting turnover to rise base this expectation on a combination of factors including productivity, competitive pricing, bringing new product/services to market and product/service improvement.

Product service improvement which was ranked number one last year (51%), ranked only fourth this year (27%). There was also a decline in the ranking of capturing competitors’ market share from forty percent (40%) last year to twenty-five percent (25%) this year.

Bringing new products and services to the market was popular for both years – thirty-eight percent (38%) last year and twenty-nine percent (29%) this year - as was productivity which was forty percent (40%) last year and thirty-four percent (34%) this year. In fact productivity was identified as the most likely cause for increased turnover in this year’s Survey. The other likely source identified in this year’s Survey which was not ranked last year was competitive pricing (31%).

Respondents were asked to identify from eight choices, areas which they would most likely cut back on in the event of limited financial resources

Companies identified their capital investment programme as the first choice for cut (35%). The other top choices were advertising (25%), public relations (23%), developing new markets (22%) and research and development (21%).

This year cuts in employment cost were not ranked as high as previous years. Cuts in the capital budget was also the top choice three years ago.

Ram & McRae’s Comments

In previous years cut back in employment was one of the favoured options for the chop. Recognising the challenging human resource problems, respondents now prefer to retain staff even during difficult times.

Human Resources

Respondents were asked to provide information on the size of their workforce, staff turnover, anticipated changes in the size of staff and changes in the number of qualified persons in their companies in the past year

Most respondents (40%) have a staff of fifty (50) persons or less, eight between 51-100 persons, fifteen (15) between 101-500 persons, three between 501-1,000 and one above 1,000 employees.

Of the group of respondents, fifty-three percent (53%) reported an increase in the size of the staff and thirty eight percent (38%) an increase in professional/qualified staff during 1999. Six percent showed a decrease whilst for fifty-six percent (56%) of the companies, the number of professional staff employed neither increased nor decreased.

This contrasts with the results of the previous year in which staff numbers increased by only twenty-four percent (24%) and decreased by thirty-eight percent (38%). In the year earlier respondents reported decreases of twenty-one percent (21%) and increases of twenty-seven percent (27%) among professional staff.

Thirty-three percent (33%) of the respondents expect that their staff levels will increase in 2001, twenty-nine percent (29%) expect to downsize whilst forty-four percent (44%) either did not know or did not expect any changes.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of the respondent companies felt that it was absolutely necessary to update and educate employees on technological trends.

Companies were asked about the areas in which they allowed participation by employees

The majority of companies shared financial results with their employees (67%), offered a company-wide bonus programme (77%) and offered other incentives to employees (73%). Fifty percent (50%) had an employee information participation programme. Only a minimal number of the companies surveyed (11%) had equity participation for its employees.

These results are generally similar to the previous year.

Respondents were asked to identify the major human resource issues affecting their businesses

Generally human resource issues were not given as much importance as the last year. The key human resource issues identified by respondents were the retention of key personnel (39.3%), having an educated/qualified labour pool (38.5%), training (38.5%) and recruiting key personnel (34.5%).

Other important issues were keeping employees informed and allowing them to participate in decision-making, labour cost and compensation and benefits planning.

The top three concerns from the 1999 Survey were the retention of key personnel, a qualified labour pool and recruiting key personnel.

Of little concern to companies this year were industrial relations and incentive schemes. Training was given a much higher ranking than in the last Survey.

Ram & McRae’s Comments

Encouragingly training is now accorded a higher priority than in previous years. With the country’s education system still facing difficulties, a high level of theoretical and practical training is necessary to equip newly recruited staff to perform effectively.