Top London entrepreneurs tackle Britain’s talent issues
This feature is sponsored by Alium Partners
A talent and skills shortage is costing the UK economy a whopping £10bn a year.
But what can businesses do about it? This made for a hot topic of discussion at Dynamic Enterprise Summit 2015’s talent roundtable.
Held at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch, the roundtable was kindly supported by Alium Partners.
The vast majority of businesses, large and small, said finding new and the right talent was one of their toughest challenges.
Nigel Peters, managing partner, Alium Partners, said: “My advice to educational establishments is make it much easier for us employers to recruit your students.”
“The school-leaver vs university graduate” question
The first problem that delegates tackled was the big talent mismatch that employers face today.
A lot of companies, especially medium-large corporates, still favour recruiting university graduates. However, they often find that these graduates don’t have key basic skills that businesses need.
On the other hand, students often struggle gaining insights into the world of work and find employers to be not very approachable.
Rubina Menghrani, professional programmes development manager, Westminster Kingsway College said that a key challenge for students was that employers don’t engage enough with the education sector when sourcing skills or recruiting vacancies. Attendees also blamed the universities’ lack of understanding for the kind of talent businesses need.
The solution? Tony Goodwin, founder and CEO, Antal International, put it succinctly: “Marry a great education with everyday commercial skills and you’re on to a winner.”
Employers need to be pro-active and communicate more with universities and students. They need to engage with education early enough so that curriculums are created to develop the skill sets that they need. Discussion also brought out that there is a seemingly deep disconnect between what students learn in education and the skills that employers need.
The obsession with qualifications
Another hot topic of discussion at the roundtable was, do employers place too much emphasis on qualifications these days? What about life skills? Obviously, for certain professions – like lawyers, doctors and teachers – they’re a given. But what about the majority of jobs?
Most attendees agreed that there seems to be a definite shift from pure graduate recruitment to recruiting apprentices; one employer found his employee retention among graduate recruits was 1% compared with 30% for apprenticeships recruitment.
Most delegates said that money isn’t the biggest motivator for most employees. If an employer treats their workforce well, employees tend to stick around.
The importance of respecting modern working practices is a big motivation for employees today. For example, employees want to be able to work from home and not be accused of skiving and male employees should not be begrudged for taking unpaid paternity leave.
Delegates said trusting employees and being flexible improved retention. After all, no employee enjoying a good work-life balance should be made to feel guilty about it.
Being a good manager
Another key talking point at the roundtable was, “can good managers be taught or are you either a natural good manager or you’re not?”
Attendees unanimously agreed that most aspects of management can be taught or learned, however; GREAT managers are born or natural.
Have any great ideas on attracting the best talent to workplaces? Tweet us @LondonlovesBiz
A huge thanks to Alium Partners for supporting the Dynamic Enterprise Summit 2015, and to all our guests for their thoughts and time:
Karl Jones, Kerry London Ltd
Rod McInnes, Alium Partners
Nigel Peters, Alium Partners
Colin Farmer, Alliots
Tony Goodwin, Antal International
Jon Slinn, CACI
Paul Cockerton, Dynamo Communications
Stephen Greene, Ed’s Easy Diner
Rosa Montes, Hult
Frances Hughes, London Loves Business
Ali Maynard, Manifest London
Rubina Menghrani, Westminster Kingsway College
This feature is sponsored by Alium Partners
Here are some good sources for advice on attracting the best talent
· The Careers and Enterprise Company was set up by government in September 2015 to help improve careers advice in schools and colleges to engage employers and education better.
· National Apprenticeship Service helps in boosting apprenticeships all over the UK.
· UpRising is a charity developing the leaders of tomorrow which supported by Alium Partners.
· One Young World is a not-for-profit which gathers together brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.
· British Legion work on assisting ex-military personnel into jobs on “civvy street”.
· The Mayor’s Fund for London helps boost employment opportunities around the capital.