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Attracting and retaining talent

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2018 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. This involves 20 free events, workshops and training sessions along with thought leadership blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Official Partner and Sponsors – The West Midlands Combined Authority, Aston University, South and City College Birmingham and Curium Solutions - all events are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more here.

Attracting and Retaining the right talent for your business is critical to developing the organisation and impacts any business considerably. This week of Growth Through People 2018, we are focussing on Attracting and Retaining talent, but I think it is important to recognise how far this theme is intertwined with the other campaign themes: responsible leadership;  the workplace environment (particularly culturally); and unlocking potential.

After leaving university, I spent eight years recruiting for Investment Banks and Asset Managers in the city of London, so I understand how difficult it can be for businesses to attract new talent.

Businesses in the region already report challenges finding the right staff to fill vacancies. 57% of companies across Greater Birmingham that had added to their workforce in the last three months faced recruitment difficulties. Of these, 53% of manufacturers cited struggling to find candidates with the right technical background, and 45% of service sector organisations reported it challenging to hire individuals with the right professional skillset.

In fact, our GBCC Quarterly Business Report data has consistently shown that over half of firms attempting to recruit in Greater Birmingham have experienced some form of recruitment difficulty.

Analysis of the local labour market in our Birmingham Economic Review for 2017 (in partnership with City-REDI) demonstrates that there is a significant undersupply of workers with high level qualifications in the city-region. This analysis indicates that 68,331 more Birmingham residents with NVQ Level 4+ qualifications are needed just to fill current skills gaps.

The West Midlands region has an above UK average proportion of the population with low or no qualifications (11.8%). Birmingham’s is higher still at 14.3%.

These figures indicate the scope of the issue Greater Birmingham firms face when they look to hire new staff.

Stakeholders are working to up- and re- skill the high numbers of unemployed citizens across the region, but most businesses won’t see the results of this for a number of years.

Yesterday, at the first event during this week of the campaign, Andy Chaplin, Principal Consultant at Robert Walters, highlighted that the best recruits aren’t out there looking at job websites. It’s vital that firms consider more nuanced methods in attracting the right talent for their business. In particular, proactively networking and drawing candidates from the ‘passive market’ are fundamental methods in ensuring businesses are able to fill any potential skills gaps in their workforce.

As the region continues to go from strength to strength, it is essential our recruitment practices continue to move with the times and reflect this upward curve.

 I look forward to hearing more ideas on this throughout the rest of the week.