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Salesforce commissioned a survey of consumers and business leaders in the UK to gauge attitudes towards the role businesses should play to drive UK prosperity.

The research found that almost three-quarters (72%) of UK consumers agree that business leaders need to step up and help create a successful global Britain. In the same study, business leaders acknowledged the role they play in driving economic growth on a regional basis, with one-quarter (24%) saying the main responsibility for doing so lies with the private sector.

The data highlights concerns of a potential shortage of tech skills post-Brexit, with over half of business leaders believing the UK is at risk of a tech brain drain. To address this, businesses recognise the pivotal role they must play in nurturing tech talent in the country. One in four business leaders feel responsibility for doing so lies mainly with private enterprise. Over half (55%) plan to invest more in developing their own tech talent, with the same number pledging to address the skills gap by reskilling older generations and 51% intending to do more to reskill people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“There are issues that business needs to lead on regardless of what’s happening in the world of politics,” said Paul Smith, EVP and GM, Salesforce UK. “The economy is changing as new technologies emerge. This research supports what we already know – as businesses leaders we need to do more to show people how reskilling and gaining new tech qualifications, often with free courses and accessible tools, is easier than many think.”

Investing in skills and technology is crucial for individual businesses. Almost two-thirds (64%) of business leaders said investing in digital skills will become more important for businesses when the UK leaves the European Union (EU), while 65% said it will increase the importance of new technology investments. Most consumers (61%) believe business should be investing more in technology to increase UK productivity.

“Two of the world’s greatest problem solvers are people and technology. Both are fundamental to creating a successful global Britain.” said Antony Walker, deputy CEO, TechUK. “Regardless of the impact of Brexit on the economy, technology leaders must continue their efforts to close the skills gap and work with governments and industry to tackle productivity.”

Despite the uncertainty, over half of consumers (51%) are looking for businesses to be more optimistic about the UK’s prospects. Encouragingly, two-thirds (67%) of business leaders recognise that larger businesses have a responsibility to provide more support to UK start-ups and entrepreneurs. Over two-thirds believe UK start-ups need more support to remain globally competitive.

Salesforce partnered with Censuswide to poll 2000 consumers and 1000 business leaders on their attitudes towards the role of business in the UK.