Small businesses
UK entrepreneurs expect to add to their payrolls in the next 12 months. iStock

Over six in 10 UK entrepreneurs are confident they will step up their hiring plans over the next 12 months, a survey released on Monday (6 June) showed.

According the EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016, 63% of the 400 UK entrepreneurs surveyed expect to add to their payrolls in the upcoming year. The figure is significantly higher than the 44.5% who expected their workforce growth in the corresponding period last year.

The survey, which polled 2,700 business owners, also found that UK entrepreneurs expect their workforce to grow by 11% next year compared with global forecast for a 9.3% increase.

Crucially, 12% of the new employees are expected to be young workers in their first job. Perhaps surprisingly, given the reports that have highlighted a chronic shortage of skilled workers, British business owners will look for talent close to home, with 71% of all hires expected to be conducted in Britain.

Some 29% of new employees will instead come from overseas and 15% of of all domestic vacancies will be filled by overseas candidates.

The uncertainty surrounding the European Union referendum as acted as a drag on the British economy, which is expected to have grown just 0.2% in the second quarter of 2016, although that did not seem to affect the entrepreneurial sector.

EY's survey found the percentage of respondents feeling confident about the UK economy rose from 76% in 2015 to 78% this year, while the number of those feeling optimistic about the global economy surged from 51% to 69%.

"UK entrepreneurs are in a good place with rising confidence in the domestic and global economy underpinning plans to hire more than last year," said Stuart Watson from EY UK. "It is particularly encouraging to see entrepreneurs' plans to create growth and opportunity for young people, with four fifths of British entrepreneurs saying young people were important to their growth strategy."