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The Month in Numbers

Self-employed workers in the UK spend an average of two hours per week separating their business and personal finances, the equivalent of 15 working days a year. Three quarters (75%) use the same bank account for personal and business income and one in five (19%) says poor financial management of processes like expenses has nearly put them out of business. (Source: Definitive Study of the Self-Employed, Intuit QuickBooks)

Self-employed spend average of two hours per week separating business and personal finances
Self-employed spend average of two hours per week separating business and personal finances

The self-employed now make up 15% of the UK workforce, as the number of people who work for themselves continues to grow. According to ONS Labour Market Statistics, the ranks of self-employed grew by 133,000 between November 2015 and November 2016.

Two in ten (21%) UK workers have already seen tasks or roles in their workplace outsourced to technology; 55% worry their job could be redundant in under five years’ time due to machines and AI (artificial intelligence). The workers most at risk, according to a survey by, are customer service agents, sales people, supermarket check-out staff, junior accountants and taxi drivers.

More than half (52%) of IT professionals replace their computer systems every three to four years, a survey by memory and storage experts Crucial reveals. Larger organisations typically replace systems at least every two years (23%); smaller organisations do so every four years (22%).

More than half (53%) of people in the UK and France who use messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have interacted with a company via mobile messaging, or are open to doing so, according to a study by digital marketing company Kenshoo. Just over half (51%) of messaging app users see messaging as faster and more immediate than email for interacting with companies; 48% feel it involves less hassle than a telephone call.


Cost of replacing an employee
Cost of replacing an employee

Instead of prioritising business expansion or skills training, 58% of UK SMEs have put cost cutting at the top of their agenda for 2017 claims alternative finance provider Liberis.

Most mobile professionals prefer Wifi hotspots to mobile data (63%), with 75% saying that Wifi has improved their quality of life. Even though two out of three hotspot users worry about data security, 42% still use public Wifi to access company data. (Source: The iPass Mobile Professional Report 2016, iPass).

Today’s consumers believe responsibility for protecting and securing customer data lies 70% with the business and only 30% with the customer. Less than a third (29%) of the 9,000 consumers surveyed for Gemalto’s 2016 Data Breaches and Customer Loyalty report believe companies are taking protection of their personal data ‘very seriously’. More than half (58%) of consumers expect to be a victim of a breach at some point.

Almost three quarters (73%) of SMEs believe new risks have emerged since setting up their companies. Yet, 82% have not altered or increased their insurance coverage in response. For example, only 9% of businesses have cyber cover in place, and only 26% say they are concerned about the threat posed by a cyber-attack. (Source: Future Impacts report, RSA).

Almost nine out of 10 (88%) C-level executives agree that business intelligence 88 (BI) and data analytics will be crucial to the future of their business. However, 59% say they don’t understand big data as much as they would like and 52% say it’s difficult to put together a business case for big data. (Source: Plotting the data journey in the boardroom, MHR Analytics)

Almost all European consumers (98%) want companies to put their contact numbers on their home pages or at least within one click, a study by customer insight firm Qualtrics reveals. Younger customers (18-22 year olds) are least prepared to wait for a response, with 35% expecting to hear back from a business within six hours of contacting them. Forty per cent of the 3,000 customers surveyed would welcome artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service.

On December 7 2016, the amount of electricity generated by the UK’s onshore and offshore turbines exceeded 10,000 megawatts for the first time. National Grid figures show that between 2 and 2.30pm 10,104MW was generated, providing 23% of Britain’s total electricity demand at that time.

It costs an average of £28,436 to replace each employee within an SME, claims AXA PPP healthcare.

Over 100,000 smartphones get damaged by water or other liquids every day in Western Europe. This, says International Data Corporation (IDC), explains growing demand for water-resistant models, with sales up 45.2% (year-on-year) in the first nine months of 2016. Over the same period, sales of non-water-resistant smartphones declined by 17%.

Earth's technosphere
Earth’s technosphere

30 trillion
The Earth’s technosphere now weighs 30 trillion tons, representing a mass of more than 50 kilos for every square metre of the Earth’s surface, according to an international team led by University of Leicester geologists. The technosphere encompasses all human-made structures, such as houses, factories, smartphones, computers and landfill.

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