Midsize Businesses Poised To Grow In 2015

Investing in operations, technology, new products and services;
Adding staff, but access to talent hinders hiring

November 21, 2014- HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Heading into 2015, midsize businesses are well-positioned to be a driving force of our nation’s economy. A majority of midsize business owners are optimistic about the economy and plan to make key investments to drive growth for their companies, including operations, technology, new products and services, adding staff, and expanding into new markets, according to The Hartford’s 2014 Midsize Business Monitor.

The inaugural survey found that 66 percent of midsize business owners and C-level executives are optimistic that the national economy will strengthen in the next six months. As evidence of their optimism, these midsize businesses are likely to make investments in the following areas in 2015:

  • Technology (88 percent)
  • Operations (87 percent)
  • Additional staff (74 percent)

A majority of midsize businesses are also looking at growth opportunities in 2015:

  • 76 percent are likely to provide a new product or service offering
  • 70 percent are likely to expand into new customer segments
  • 61 percent are likely to expand into new geographies

“Midsize businesses are vital to the U.S. economy, fueling growth as both customers of and suppliers to smaller and larger businesses,” said David Carter, senior vice president of Middle Market insurance at The Hartford. “The investment and expansion plans of businesses in this sector create a ripple effect of opportunity for companies of all sizes that provide the products and services they will need.”

Talent is Needed, But a Lack of Qualified Candidates Hinders Hiring

Eighty-five percent of businesses hired employees in the prior 12 months, and a majority of businesses (74 percent) plan to add staff in 2015. However, a lack of access to qualified talent may challenge hiring plans. While 45 percent of businesses made all the hires they had wanted to in the prior 12 months, 40 percent said they hired fewer than desired. The most common reason cited by those respondents was a lack of qualified talent (61 percent).

Technology Use: Mobile Devices, Cloud Computing, BYOD

Midsize businesses are embracing technologies in multiple aspects of their operations, and many are considering some of today’s most innovative technologies in the near future. The majority of businesses (71 percent) are currently using employer-owned mobile devices, 53 percent use cloud computing, and 53 percent are using Internet telephone service, according to the survey.

More than one-third of those businesses surveyed allow employees to access company systems using their personally owned technology device, also known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Nearly a quarter of businesses are currently using big data technologies, and an additional 42 percent are at least somewhat likely to use them in the next three years.

Technology                                       Currently using            Considering in the next three years
Mobile devices (employer-owned)        71 percent                           18 percent
Cloud computing                                   53 percent                           35 percent
Internet telephone service                     53 percent                           29 percent
Employee devices accessing
company systems (BYOD)                     36 percent                          27 percent
Big data technologies                             24 percent                          42 percent
Telematics                                               17 percent                          27 percent

Midsize businesses are vital to the U.S. economy, fueling growth as both customers of and suppliers to smaller and larger businesses

In the future, the technology landscape for midsize businesses may be quite different than it is today. Many are considering the potential use of new, cutting edge technologies. For example:

  • 36 percent are looking at Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technologies;
  • 35 percent are considering 3-D printing;
  • 35 percent are thinking about using wearable technology;
  • 13 percent are considering drones; and
  • 12 percent are considering autonomous/driverless vehicles.

“The adoption of these newer technologies is closer than many may realize. As midsize businesses pursue growth and integrate new technologies into their operations, the insurance industry will need to be ready to address these new types of risk,” added Carter.

The Hartford’s Middle Market segment provides comprehensive, multiline commercial insurance coverage for midsize and larger businesses, associations and organizations. Coverage offerings include property, general liability, workers’ compensation, commercial auto, umbrella liability, management and professional liability and marine protection, as well as specialty coverages for target industry segments, including technology, life sciences, construction, manufacturing and private education.






Survey Methodology

The Hartford’s 2014 Midsize Business Monitor was fielded from September 16-23, 2014. More than 500 owners and C-level executives of midsize businesses headquartered in the U.S. with annual sales or revenues of $10 million to $1 billion participated in the online survey, which had a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

For more information about these survey results, visit here.

With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. The company is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com.