As with anything, gaining relevant work experience is essential for anyone who wants to progress into a particular specialist field. Although this is something most graduates are familiar with, the very difficult task of building up sufficient relevant work experience while maintaining a good balance between development and work, the same scenario now seems to be the case in the world of Small and Medium Enterprises.
This appears to be especially true in light of one of the Governments' key economic strategies. After the recent spending-review it was hoped that SMEs would help to grow and move the economy forward with help from new Government proposals which would make the task of tendering for contracts in both private and public sectors more transparent and less complicated for Small and Medium Enterprises. Instead, however, the opposite seems to have occurred. In a recent survey carried out by freelancers website PeoplePerHour, a significant number of SMEs are concerned that they will simply be overlooked and that the majority of new lucrative contracts will go straight into the new contract files of the larger, more experienced companies in their sector, in particular, the 'big four' consulting firms.
As soon as Whitehall moves to the High Street, a lot more public sector contracts will be put out to tender. Although the majority of SMEs are willing and able to tender for them, SMEs do not have a successful track record of securing these contracts. So although they may be perfectly capable and able to undertake the work, often at less cost, they don't have the right qualifications - nothing on paper - to prove it. Therefore they run the risk of being excluded for consideration simply because they don't meet the basic essential criteria – experience.
Everyone has to start somewhere, however being left with the prospect of going through the time-consuming and complicated tendering process only to end up bidding for what's left, that is, the less lucrative contracts, does not appear fair for SMEs, nor does it offer any incentive. What is clear is that having experience of tendering for and winning contracts, will count. The Government has been strongly advised to try and rectify this imbalance, along with several other concerns that SMEs have, which include the amount of 'red tape' they perceive will hold them down.
Small and Medium Enterprises appear to be drowning with regard to regulations surrounding Employment Law as well as Health and Safety regulations. In order for SMEs to be able to grow and move our economy forward, they need help. SMEs hands appear to be tied in many areas, preventing them from being able to flourish. The simple job of actually employing staff is proving to be more difficult than accessing finance!
Health and Safety regulations are also a major concern for SMEs and most feel that the regulations and resulting obligations hamper their growth. All in all, there would appear to be more obstacles than open doors facing our SMEs and if they are to fulfil one of the Governments' key economic strategies of helping to grow our economy, then the Government will need to address these issues as a priority to allow SMEs to actually do their job.