Concerns over profit still loom

Designers are still concerned about gaining extra profit despite increased activity and higher turnover per employee, according to the Design Business Association’s latest quarterly survey.

The 42 subscribing consultancies surveyed by David Jebb & Associates for the DBA are worried whether this extra work will translate into extra profit, or whether they will simply have to work harder to stay where they are, says management consultant David Jebb. “It’s going to be much harder to make money in design than it has been in the past,” he adds.

Profits were up for the months from April to June. However, productivity, which showed a slight improvement, remains low compared with two years ago.

Jebb does not expect productivity to recover completely: “The margins got squeezed because design buyers would not pay the price. We are still recovering from that and I do not know if we ever will.” More respondents now expect to take on full-time staff, the survey reveals.

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