Posted by

Kamala Mackinnon, Campaigns Adviser

12 Apr 2012

Over one in five businesses believe they lack the in-house skills, managerial capacity or knowledge to export. This perception can act as a barrier to exporting for the first time or expanding export volumes – especially for micro and small businesses.

Language is also cited as a barrier: 61% of non-exporters ‘likely to consider’ exporting in the future see language as a barrier to doing so. The extent of the language deficit in the UK is truly serious: up to 96% of respondents had no foreign language ability for the markets they served, and the largest language deficits are for the fastest-developing markets.  Only 0.4% of business owners surveyed reported that they were able to speak Russian or Chinese well enough to conduct business deals in their buyers’ language.

Addressing the gaps in commercial exporting skills – including language skills -  must be a priority to support the growth of Britain’s export sector. BCC has also recommended placing recent graduates in UK businesses operating overseas as part of an international work experience programme, and that a  Business Erasmus-style scheme should be created which promotes placements in companies for employees. The BCC and the Chamber Network will be working hard over the coming years to overcome the obstacles facing exporters, working closely with companies and with Government, and will help to unlock the potential of Britain’s existing and future exporters.