By Daniel Hunter

Mid-sized enterprises in the UK are punching above their weight when it comes to productivity and economic outputs, according to a new report by Sage.

Despite accounting for less than 10% of the UK's five million businesses, mid-sized compaanies were found to contribute 17% of the country’s total Gross Valued Added output (GVA) in 2014, having experienced growth of 33% since 2009.

At the same time, the sector has experienced a surge in employment with 260,000 jobs created over the past six months alone and further growth of 5.3% expected over the next five years.

Of all the European countries included within the study, the UK has seen the most growth in terms of mid-market employment in the years since the financial crisis. Employment figures for the sector currently stand at 3.02 million, but this set to rise to 3.18 million by 2019.

The survey also found that mid-sized enterprises are highly optimistic about the coming year. The overwhelming majority (73%) said turnover would stay the same or grow by up to 50%. Expectations for hiring were even more buoyant with 70% expect their staff numbers to grow in the next year. This was the highest proportion across 12 European countries in the survey.

Jayne Archbold, CEO at Sage Enterprise Market Europe, said: “Mid-sized businesses play a critical role in driving economic growth in the UK, and across Europe. They are ambitious, with high levels of productivity and impressive employment stats. At a time when many businesses were struggling, this sector grew by 33%. They should be viewed as the unsung heroes of the economy.

“Looking ahead, an improving demand outlook and easing financial position suggest robust mid-market growth in the medium-term in the UK.”

The poll found that the UK’s mid-market employees are the hardest working across Europe. According to results, 70% work occasionally after regular working hours, 55% at the weekend, 28% on vacation and 26% when ill. Just 5% work on none of these occasions, which compares to the European average of 12% and, for instance, 17% in France.