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Little concern over Brexit

AROUND one third of Shetland businesses fear Brexit will have a negative impact on their sales, according to a new survey of local employers.

Thirty five per cent of respondents to the Shetland Islands Council survey also believe leaving the EU will hamper efforts to gain external funding.

But on the whole, most employers do not believe Brexit will have a positive or negative effect on their business.

The survey, carried out by SSQC Ltd in the third quarter of 2017, found that there are 7,496 full-time jobs and 4,623 part-time jobs in Shetland.

This does not include full and part-time crofting employment, fish catching employment defined as part-time or casual, or employment which is not based in Shetland.

Over half of respondents are expecting to increase their turnover over the next three years, while 17 per cent expect to increase employment over the next year.

Public administration is the largest employer in Shetland with 21 per cent of all full-time equivalent jobs, while wholesale/retail and construction are next in line.

Nearly 20 per cent of organisations surveyed have an annual turnover of over £ 1 million, while 35 per cent have a turnover of between £10,000 and £100,000.

The male/female split in employment is 52 per cent to 48 per cent in favour of men – a swing of three per cent to males from a previous survey in 2011.

The survey found that 53.2 per cent of full-time equivalent jobs are based in Lerwick, with Scalloway, Dunrossness and Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale the next busiest council areas.

Thirty eight per cent of private sector businesses said they attract or compete for business outside of Shetland, while 58 per cent of these compete outside of the UK.

Eighty five per cent of businesses in the survey meanwhile are deemed “micro sized” with less than 10 employees.

Councillor Alastair Cooper, who is the chairman of the SIC’s development committee, said the survey is an “important resource for strategic planning in Shetland”.

“The 2017 survey shows that, while there is a degree of optimism in the local economy and particularly in the private sector, there are areas which we need to work on if we are to achieve the goal of growing Shetland’s working population, in line with the aspirations of the Shetland Partnership’s 10 year plan.”

The full survey results can be found here.