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Press Release

Global mid-market businesses full of hope and fear in latest index results

LONDON: In a year without precedent, it should be no surprise that Grant Thornton’s Global business pulse index*, which tracks sentiment among the global mid-market, has produced results without precedent. Leaders of mid-market businesses have reported near record levels of optimism and rising export intentions, revenues, and profitability according to the latest figures gathered from approximately 5,000 mid-market business leaders across 29 economies including the G20.

At a global level, the index rose from -3.6 in H2 2020 to 0.2 in H1 2021 driven by a rise in outlook. With a rise of 12 percentage points in the first half of 2021, over two-thirds of firms are now looking through the economic darkness of the previous year with the latest figures demonstrating positivity as optimism continues its upward trend from close to the lowest levels seen in IBR history at the start of 2020. Other key indicators also saw an increase with revenue and profit expectations - 57% now expect to increase revenue in the next 12 months and 56% expect to grow profits.

However, with the same breath, these business leaders are also voicing increasing concern about a growing supply crunch. Barriers to growth have risen to a 10-year high and now sit even higher than they did at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Regulations and red tape are still a serious concern with 57% of companies globally seeing them as a restraint. Additionally, even with unprecedented monetary easing and government-led support initiatives over the past year and a half, concerns over shortage of finance still looms large for many and currently sits at 51% globally - more than double the long-term average.

Meanwhile, the war for talent looks set to get even more fierce as the availability of skilled workers tightens driven by acute pandemic-induced shortages. Nearly 60% of businesses globally say that it is difficult to secure the appropriate skillsets as potential employees reassess their career options, employment status, and attitudes toward flexible work options.

Francesca Lagerberg says: “Businesses around the world have proven to be amazingly resilient and adaptable over the past 18 months. As leaders fight their way out of the darkness of the pandemic, many are hoping that the light at the end of a tunnel is not an oncoming train. With so many outlook indicators pushing new highs it’s clear business leaders can see the market heating up as pent-up demand is released and creates opportunity. Nevertheless, with so many restraint indicators also pushing new highs, the ability of businesses to correctly map their course and navigate the challenges ahead will be crucial.”


*Global business pulse: Developed in partnership with Oxford Economics, the Global business pulse index is calculated every six months and draws on the world’s largest and longest-running research study into the mid-market, which interviews around 10,000 mid-market business leaders across 29 economies annually.

It provides a complete view of mid-market health and future prospects at a global, regional, sector and country level, while sub-indices provide a view of a number of dimensions that contribute towards this health. More information:

Further enquiries, please contact:
Thor Bostelmann
Corporate Communications Manager
Grant Thornton International Ltd
D: +44 (0)20 3890 8422
M: +44 (0)77 1754 0113

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