Family Business Barometer seeks to show which trends are seen
and foreseen within European family businesses. This year's
edition turns up a number of interesting insights, such as the
war for talent currently being waged, and
innovation being the top strategy for developing
sustainable growth. Another prevailing theme is planning
for the future, with many respondents talking about
formalising governance structures and passing management on to the
The survey also takes the industry's temperature on its
confidence level, and the results are positive: 83% of the
respondents expect growth in the coming year, with 54% having
increased turnover in the previous year. This is good news
considering the importance of this sector, which is about 14
million companies strong in Europe translating into some 60 million
jobs in the private sector.
The story of the present epoch seems to revolve around
personnel: three years ago, locating key talent wasn't even
amongst the top five concerns. Now it ranks at first place. For any
business, of course, talent is no small factor in success—but
since family businesses tend to rely more heavily on their
employees, this challenge will be a particularly key one in this
sector. Notably, family businesses tend to keep their people for
longer than other businesses, so if the war for talent is being
felt here it perhaps indicates the degree to which the global
workforce is becoming more restless or more demanding.
Notably, other top concerns included political uncertainties and
The other recurring theme within the survey is innovation, which
comes foremost in respondents' strategies in 2016. It also
ranks third in overall priorities over the next two years (being
beaten only by increasing turnover and improving profitability),
and of those planning new investments over half plan to do so in
the name of innovation.
From these results we can see that family businesses in Europe
are preparing for future growth by positioning themselves with the
best people and the freshest ideas, products, and services.
Charging into the future
Indeed, we can observe family businesses' preoccupation with
the future, as almost nine in ten respondents already have formal
governance structures in place. Furthermore half of the survey
participants already involve the next generation at the management
level, and among the most-cited strategic items on next year's
agenda are passing management and ownership on to younger hands.
Another top strategy is appointing an external CEO.
These measures going into place, combined with the focus on new
people and innovation, point to a forward-looking optimism that is
not unfounded. In fact, it's supported by positive recent
results: over half the companies reported that turnover is up, with
a further 30% reporting that it has remained stable. More and more
family business are expanding abroad, too, with 76% of our
respondents telling us that they are in the international realm
compared to 60% just three years ago. Overall, the growth rate
within family businesses is more than double that of the European
annual economic growth rate—5% per annum compared to 2%. And
if you ask them (which we did), they are not interested in slowing
down: a very healthy eight out of ten are expecting growth in the
This growth, and its accompanying optimism, is most welcome in a
European environment currently experiencing some trepidation.
"As we have become accustomed to," says Jesus Casado, EFB
Secretary General, "family businesses in times of political
turmoil and uncertainty are the stabilising factor to our shared
economies." Christophe Bernard, Global Head of KPMG's
Family Business Practice, adds that "it is very encouraging to
see that in spite of the recent upheavals in the European market,
family businesses feel confident and optimistic about their future
prospects and demonstrate positive performance."
The survey is the fifth of its kind, and collected data from 959
completed questionnaires sent to participants spanning 23
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ICT Spring is a global technology conference that welcomes various international professionals from the technology space. It is a two-day yearly event which is held in Luxembourg City, “at the heart of Europe, and offers the participants a unique opportunity to deepen their digital knowledge, capture the value of the fast-growing FinTech industry, and explore the impact of space technologies on terrestrial businesses, through exhibitions and demonstrations of the latest tech trends and innovations. ICT Spring is also the perfect place to network with peers and future business partners”.
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