As youth unemployment passed the one million mark for the first time, just over a quarter of UK employers said the money being funnelled into the London Olympics would be better spent on training to help young people get jobs.
A total three in five UK also wished that the money had been invested in other things, not least because a huge 75% did not believe that the Olympics would boost their business, with as few as 17% saying they will use the event as a means of selling products or services.
The research, commissioned by serviced office operator Business Environment
, will come as a blow for the Coalition Government, which last month launched a drive to maximise the economic impact of the Games, which it has billed as the greatest show on Earth.
But David Saul, the firm’s managing director, said: “We’re living in a difficult economic period, with businesses struggling to make a profit and keep afloat, and youth unemployment at an all-time high. It is understandable then that companies are sceptical about how London 2012 will directly increase their bottom line.”
Because of the general negativity felt by businesses towards the Games, however, many were ill-prepared, giving little thought to staffing levels or providing alternative methods of transport during the event.
Only a quarter believed that flexible working hours would be of any benefit, while 14% said that they intended to take on extra staff to try and cope with increased work loads. A further 15% planned to use video conferencing technology in order to replace face-to-face meetings.
Despite recommendations by Transport for London that workers based in the capital think about walking or cycling to work, a mere 29% of London businesses indicated that they would change their travel habits.
Saul said: “Businesses are simply not acknowledging the effects of the Olympics and are, therefore, being a little naive when it comes to maintaining staff levels and reducing the impact caused by increased traffic congestion."
It was critical that all businesses, including those based outside of London, considered the impact of the Games on staff, customers, visitors and suppliers and made arrangements to reduce disruption, operate as smoothly as possible and maintain productivity levels, he added.