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Is cash no longer king?

Figures published his week by the Payments Council show that the total number of cash payments made by consumers and businesses in the UK fell to 48% last year (from 52% in 2013). This is the first time that “non-cash” payments have exceeded those made with cash, reflecting the trend to use automated payment methods and debit cards rather than paying with notes and coins.

Good news in Export Week

British manufacturing firms are reporting increased export orders and sales in Q1 2015, according to a new report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL Express released during Export Week. The poll of more than 2,300 exporting firms found that 46% of manufacturers reported increased export orders in Q1, compared to 36% in Q4 2014. Meanwhile, the proportion of service firms that recorded increased export sales remained steady at 33%.

US investors set their sights on Europe

North American investors are set to plough “billions” into Europe according to the results of a survey by Armstrong International. Four in five of the 305 investors polled said that they are actively investing or planning to invest in Europe. Property and infrastructure, as well as private equity, are on the shopping list and SMEs could benefit, says Martin Armstrong, chairman of Armstrong International. “We’ve never detected this level of positive sentiment on the part of North American institutional investors. After a tepid decade, this level of investment enthusiasm implies that Europe is a re-emerging economy.”

Why women over 55 are best suited to drive change

Not everyone is capable of driving transformational change in business. Research by PwC found that just 8% of senior managers have what it takes. But its survey of 6,000 European professionals found that the largest proportion of “strategist leaders” were female and over 55. This group was more likely to be able to see situations from multiple perspectives, employ positive language and exercise power courageously, according to the analysis. Jessica Leitch of PwC, said: “Historically women over the age of 55 would not have been an area of focus, but as the research suggests, this pool of talent might hold the key to transformation and in some cases, business survival.”

Graduates lack essential people skills

Recruiting graduates is getting harder because many just don’t have the necessary people skills, according to Hays Group. Its research shows that 77% of those in charge of graduate recruitment and development said they have had to employ graduates without the necessary people skills due to a lack of choice. Meanwhile, 61% of today’s graduates believe that technical skills are more important than people skills at work.