The Association of International Companies (ABIC) today released key results of a detailed membership survey about numerous aspects of conducting business in Bermuda. 

 

The survey, completed in September this year, updates one done by ABIC in 2009. It encompassed 40 large and medium-sized companies, 51 of their Chief Executive Officers -- the responding CEO’s represent almost half of the International Business sector. 

“The survey provides a snapshot of the international business sector, and gives us some key information on where we can expect this sector to change and evolve in the near future,” said ABIC Chairman George Hutchings. "It also helps us at ABIC define areas where we and our members should direct our efforts in the years ahead." 

“The good news is that on a per company basis the financial contribution of international business to the Bermuda economy is holding but with some changes. Overall payroll, tax, fees, rents, etc are all down, only training expenditure is up. Bermudians are progressing in managerial positions with a significantly greater proportion of senior management and middle management positions being held by non-work permit employees. There is greater CEO satisfaction with government and work permit procedures, and cautious optimism about short to medium term business prospects in Bermuda. Concerns among CEO’s remain about crime, health care costs, the public education system and the prospect of independence, overall CEO’s remain satisfied with Bermuda as a place to live and work. There has been significant expansion of company operations elsewhere with US, UK/Ireland and Europe the most favoured.” 

"This survey confirms the trend identified in the last survey that the profile of the International Companies located in Bermuda has changed over the last few years. Whereas previously Bermuda used to be the predominant, and often only, location for these companies, nowadays they have operations in various domiciles and can choose where to house the different operating units. The survey confirms a consistent reduction in the recruitment of employees with work permits. It is our job to ensure that the various attributes that got Bermuda to where it is - great infrastructure, sensible regulation, tax efficiency, speed to market and quality of life - 

remain in place, in which case we will retain the senior management and core functions of these companies" said Mr. Hutchings. 

At the CEO level, indications are that company leaders are bringing their families with them when they work in Bermuda. The average leader has spent more than 10 years in Bermuda. "There's good news here" said Mr. Hutchings. "This may signal that the CEOs see a long-term future for themselves in Bermuda, and that is real cause for optimism." 

Highlights of the survey include: 

  • General pattern of employment similar to previous surveys but with gradual increase in Bermudian employees in managerial positions. 
  • Training effort has increased. International Business still has a need for highly qualified/experienced employees, highlighting the importance of education and training. 
  • More women than men in workforce, however more women in non-management and non-professional roles and most men in management. 
  • Gradual increase in black employees up to 35% from 31% with increased incidence of black work permit recruitment and continued evidence of progression of black Bermudian employees to managerial positions. 
  • Consistent reduction in work permits recruitment; this has had an impact on the wider economy. 
  • IB Economic contribution down, except for training. 
  • CEOs still satisfied with Bermuda as a place to live and work, they have greater satisfaction with Government and work permit procedures, cautious optimism about short to medium term business prospects are positive about International Business in Bermuda. 
  • CEO concerns remain about crime, health care costs and prospect of independence.