Firms invest in people

26 June 2019

The majority of businesses worldwide plan to increase investment over the next two years – with technology and people among their top priorities.

According to new research from HSBC, 84 per cent of firms intend to boost investment as they seek to increase productivity, meet customers’ needs and keep pace with rapid technological change.

More than 2,500 companies in 14 countries and territories took part in the study. It found that their leading spending priority is research, innovation and technology, with 55 per cent saying they plan to increase investment in this area.

Yet nearly as many – 52 per cent – will put extra funds into the skills and training of their workforce, and 43 per cent into supporting their employees’ well-being, the research found.

This suggests that, although some companies expect that technological change may lead to a reduction in their workforce, people remain a key factor in their future success.

Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC Global Commercial Banking, said: “A business may need fewer people than today, but it will need those people to be highly trained and highly engaged – to be healthy and happy in their jobs – or they’ll take their skills elsewhere. Well-being and sustainability are becoming watchwords for business success.”

The findings come from Navigator: Made for the Future , an international survey assessing the sentiment and expectations of businesses in the near to mid-term future.

The poll also revealed that the internet of things, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the technologies identified as representing the biggest opportunities for businesses. These and other new technologies such as wearables and facial recognition are seen as key to improving service quality and customer experience.

Mr Quinn added: “Excitement about rapidly-evolving technologies comes through clearly as businesses prepare to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers.”

Read the full report on the HSBC Global Commercial Banking website (opens in new window)

Note: HSBC’s latest Navigator report is based on a survey of 2,559 companies in 14 countries and territories: Australia, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, the UAE, the UK and the US. The research was conducted by Kantar TNS for HSBC in May 2019.