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UK financial services businesses must get set for London 2012 economic boost, or risk missing out
Publication date: 10 January 2012
Despite the tough economic outlook, almost three quarters (71 per cent) of the UK financial services sector see an opportunity to prosper from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to new research published by BT.
However, nearly a third (29 per cent) of financial companies run the risk of not capitalising on the economic opportunity by making basic of preparations such as plans to deal with staff absenteeism or considering the potential knock-on effects for their supply chain.
The BT study, which surveyed 1,200 small, medium and large enterprises nationwide across all sectors, found they had a positive outlook for the Games despite tough economic conditions.
The majority of the financial services sector (68 per cent) think productivity will increase especially if Great Britain does well. Over half (55 per cent) think the Games will bring commercial benefits to their bottom line and over a third (36 per cent) expects to receive more international business.
Whilst the predicted extra million extra visitors is a major opportunity for financial services businesses, the majority (92 per cent) do have concerns about negative knock-on effects. Issues like unpredictable dips or surges in demand, staff attendance and employee productivity are amongst the top concerns.
Six in ten (60 per cent) predict they will see problems caused by staff not able to get to work or wanting time off and as a result nearly two thirds (59 per cent) plan to increase flexible working, which is the largest of any sector surveyed and significantly higher than the average across all sectors (36 per cent).
When asked whether they were expecting issues with their IT or network capacity during London 2012 due to a surge in demand from employees and/or customers, 43 per cent of businesses in the financial services sector said “yes”, with nearly one in ten of these confessing they have not yet formulated plans or decided on what additional infrastructure resources are required.
Such issues could be a real threat to hopes of a business boost, particularly given the results of previous BT research on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which found that roughly half (49 per cent) of the companies in and around the Canadian city felt they could have done better from the event or missed out on opportunities.
Colin Hansen, the former British Columbia Minister responsible for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, said: “Companies in the British financial services sector are right to be optimistic because the Olympics had a huge economic benefit in Vancouver and across Canada as a whole. But the scale of the event was much bigger than anybody expected and many companies just weren’t geared up for how big the opportunity would be.
“Nobody in the UK should expect next summer to be business as usual, but with the right plans in place, such as flexible working, every business – large or small – can take advantage of the occasion and seize the long-term economic benefits.”
Andy Nicholson, president, global banking and financial markets, BT, said: “Despite the tough economic climate, we can tell from our own customers that London 2012 presents both challenges and opportunities for financial sector organisations. But success or failure depends on how ready they are. There’s still time to get plans in place, but with less than seven months to go, we do urge all organisations to begin preparations now or miss out on the economic benefits.”
The full results of the research, plus a short overview of key findings, can be downloaded from http://www.scribd.com/collections/3426843/Race-to-the-Line-Business-Survey
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