UK business confidence falls sharply, but remains highest in Europe, latest Accenture/ S&P Global UK Business Outlook survey finds

Key findings

LONDON; Jul. 18, 2022. UK business confidence fell to a joint record low in June, but remains the most confident in Europe, and above the global trend, according to the latest Accenture / S&P Global UK Business Outlook.

Whilst the findings come amid global economic uncertainty, a net balance of 28% more private sector firms forecast their activity to increase over the coming year. This is half the level recorded in February (+56%), and the joint-lowest since the survey began in October 2009. Both the EU and global averages are below the UK at +16% and +22% respectively.

UK businesses also expect rapidly rising inflation, fuelled by increased energy costs, to drive down margins, as profit forecasts turned negative for the first time in the survey’s history, at -2%.

The data reveals that companies are concerned that they will be unable to pass on higher costs to customers, with +59% of firms predicting an increase in their output charges - the second highest-on record, following a survey record of +62% in February.

Cost expectations remain high despite 3% fewer companies predicting a rise in staff wages, down from +83% to +80%. Manufacturers are relieved to see a decrease in supply chain challenges, reporting their lowest expectations for non-staff costs in 12 months.

Optimism is strongest among makers of electrical and transport goods (+63%), as firms praised new product opportunities, sustainable investment, and lower metal prices. At the other extreme, hospitality firms posted a negative outlook for the first time in nearly four years (-4%), as the cost-of-living crisis drives lower consumer spending on travel, dining and leisure.

At the same time, +21% of UK employers predict a rise in employment - almost double the rest of Europe at +12% - as firms look to fill staffing gaps that appeared during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the survey, Matt Prebble, Strategy & Consulting Lead, UK & Ireland at Accenture, said: “Inflation and a cloud of economic uncertainty have understandably knocked business confidence. Whilst some predict lower profits and are cutting back on research and development, it is worth noting that the more confident sectors are continuing to sustainably invest in new products."

"Over the past few years UK business leaders have proven resilient in the face of constant change which may explain their optimism compared to other countries. It is this mindset to make transformational change where it is needed most, invest in talent and new technologies that will put them in a strong position to take market share when the current turbulence passes."

Half of UK regions expect profits to fall, but West Midlands and Yorkshire are on the rise
There remains a sharp regional divide in business confidence in June, as half of the 12 UK regions expect to see a decline in profits. Businesses in the South East continue to feel the most secure and expect to see the sharpest rise in employment over the next 12 months (+34%). However, optimism in other English regions is on the rise - the West Midlands (+39%) and Yorkshire & the Humber (+29%) moved to become the second and third-most-optimistic regions for activity, ahead of London (+30%).

Not all regions are feeling the same buoyancy, with notably pessimistic profit expectations for the North East (-16%), South West (-17%), and in particular Northern Ireland (-35%).

The latest data also suggested that wage pressures will be primarily driven by regions in the South of England over the next year, with the South East, South West, East of England (each +82%) and London (81%) posting well above other parts of the UK.

The full report and accompanying data are available on request from

About Accenture
Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital,
cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more
than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Technology and Operations services
and Accenture Song—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology
and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 710,000 people deliver on the promise of technology
and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the
power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders,
partners and communities. Visit us at

About S&P Global
S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) S&P Global provides essential intelligence. We enable governments,
businesses and individuals with the right data, expertise and connected technology so
that they can make decisions with conviction. From helping our customers assess new
investments to guiding them through ESG and energy transition across supply chains, we
unlock new opportunities, solve challenges and accelerate progress for the world.
We are widely sought after by many of the world’s leading organizations to provide credit
ratings, benchmarks, analytics and workflow solutions in the global capital, commodity
and automotive markets. With every one of our offerings, we help the world’s leading
organizations plan for tomorrow, today.\
The intellectual property rights to the data provided herein are owned by or licensed to
S&P Global and/or its affiliates. Any unauthorised use, including but not limited to copying,
distributing, transmitting or otherwise of any data appearing is not permitted without
S&P Global’s prior consent. S&P Global shall not have any liability, duty or obligation for or
relating to the content or information (“data”) contained herein, any errors, inaccuracies,
omissions or delays in the data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. In no event
shall S&P Global be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, arising
out of the use of the data. Purchasing Managers’ Index® and PMI® are either registered
trade marks of Markit Economics Limited or licensed to Markit Economics Limited and/
or its affiliates.

This Content was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global
Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global. Reproduction of any
information, data or material, including ratings (“Content”) in any form is prohibited
except with the prior written permission of the relevant party. Such party, its affiliates and
suppliers (“Content Providers”) do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness,
timeliness or availability of any Content and are not responsible for any errors or omissions
(negligent or otherwise), regardless of the cause, or for the results obtained from the use
of such Content. In no event shall Content Providers be liable for any damages, costs,
expenses, legal fees, or losses (including lost income or lost profit and opportunity costs) in
connection with any use of the Content.

# # #

Andy Rowlands
+44 7952 594 784

Copyright © 2022 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are trademarks of Accenture.