British IT Execs More Bullish

An industry trade survey reports that British IT leaders are mostly optimistic, but see possible threats from China and India

IT industry leaders in the UK are pleased with their recent performance and bullish about the future too - if only the government doesn't get in their way.

In a survey of members of IT trade association Intellect, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they are more confident about the business outlook for the IT industry than they were six months ago.

Just over half said they are only 'a little more confident' though, with the highest confidence ratings coming from companies with less than £10m annual revenue.

Private and public sector spending are seen as having the greatest positive impact on business growth over the next six months.

The two factors identified as obstructions to future growth are UK macroeconomic policy and competition, with one respondent commenting: "The threat is from India and China."

EU environmental legislation is also viewed as bad for IT businesses' prospects - as is the UK potentially adopting the euro.

One respondent wrote: "We suffer from more and more legislation which is taking up increasing amounts of management time."

On the flip side, respondents point to public investment in science and technology education as well as e-government initiatives as good for IT companies.

Most businesses saw an increase or no change in sales and profitability figures over the last six months - and most predict increases for both over the next six months.

When it comes to staff numbers, just 14 per cent anticipate a decrease in the coming months, with the rest split evenly between staying the same or increasing.

Any staff cuts, however, look as if they'll be happening at big businesses as the companies forecasting lower staff numbers have more than £250m in annual sales.

The ICT Watch survey was a joint effort between Intellect and consultancy KPMG and consisted of responses from 51 Intellect members.