2022 Scale-Ups Confidence Survey

Belgian scale-ups boast confidence and deliver expected growth performance in 2021, however shortage of talent is the biggest bottleneck to growth

After two years in a pandemic, scale-ups have shown strength and resilience by delivering on their expected growth performance in 2021. It has given them confidence in their strategy and business model to set expectations even higher for 2022, despite the new Ukraine crisis. Scale-ups will have to overcome the war for talent, as finding specific profiles is the largest burden they encounter to reach their growth aspirations. Nevertheless, their main focus remains finding new customers and expanding into new markets in 2022.

In 2022, 291 start- and scale-ups shared an insight into their companies, up from 71 in 2020 and 125 in 2021.

Key findings:

  • Finding the right talent is now the biggest challenge amongst scale-ups with 50% of companies highlighting talent as their biggest challenge to reach their growth ambition, up 22% from last year and surpassing delayed/lower customer signings.
  • Survey respondents increased their headcount by 5,494 FTEs in 2021 growing 47%, with a median expected and realised FTE growth of 5. Respondents are set to grow their headcount by another 6,712 FTEs in 2022, growing 39%, while doubling their median expected FTE growth to 10.
  • FinTech scale-ups achieved the highest revenue growth in 2021 (171%), whilst Electronic devices, hardware & semiconductor scale-ups expect the highest growth in 2022 (187%).
  • 56% of scale-ups achieved their expected revenue growth in 2021, up 21% vs 2020, with Life Sciences & Healthcare having the largest percentage (67%) of scale-ups achieving their expected growth.
  • New customer acquisition remains the primary area of focus for scale-ups to realise their growth aspirations in 2022 at 80%. Partnerships & Resellers declined by 8% which is surprising considering that it is an essential driver for international scaling and the challenges for scale-ups to attract talent.

2022 Scale-Ups Confidence Survey report

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