Sophie Hobson: Why we have launched Securing Britain's Talent


Business leaders know all too well the talent and skills challenges we face – and how to overcome them, says our editor

Read Securing Britain’s Future online now:
London business leaders tackle skills gaps, leadership issues, youth unemployment and workplace diversity

Follow me @sophiehobson and @londonlovesbiz

A country may be defined by its borders, but it is the people who live within it that make a country what it is. The people shape its history and its future; they lathe a country’s landscape and build its towers; they are a country’s culture.

The greatest British businesses, from multi-national to micro and everything in-between, are what they are because of the people who work within them.

The workforce in Britain has great strengths, as our commercial prowess often proves. But this country also faces profound challenges, if we are to continue to produce innovation, opportunity and inspiring enterprises.

Almost one million people aged 16 to 24 are unemployed. We are on the brink of skills shortages in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects that could severely hamper future economic growth. The leadership stratum in this country is still predominantly white, middleclass and male, despite our population being much more diverse than that. Only 17% of FTSE 100 board directors are female. I’ve talked to many business owners who fear we lack potential leaders in younger generations. Many also feel that our visa system is prohibitive to recruiting top international talent. And I could go on.

The aim of Securing Britain’s Talent is to suggest ways to overcome these and other issues surrounding talent and skills in Britain. This is the second publication in our Securing Britain series, and as with the first – Securing Britain’s Future – we have asked London business leaders to use their expertise to tackle a problem that they feel passionately about and have experience in.

Why London business leaders? Well, as the online newspaper for London’s business community, LondonlovesBusiness.com clearly has a vested interest in the London business community.

But we also believe that London business leaders have a responsibility to the rest of the country. London contributes around a fifth to the UK economy, and the average Londoner adds 70% more to Britain’s income than individuals outside the capital. London is the commercial and cultural heart of Britain. It is the finance and technology capital of Europe.

London business leaders are the people driving all this. And every day, they face challenges around talent and skills. They must navigate London’s eight million inhabitants, their own workforces, and potential recruits from all over the planet in a bid to remain competitive and future-ready. Their success to date proves their expertise in recruiting, managing and developing people. We believe this expertise qualifies them to share their insights into talent and skills with the wider business and political communities in Britain.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all who have contributed to this publication. I would also like to thank our partners and supporters: ICAEW; OCR; the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills; the National Apprenticeship Service; and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

I believe that our contributors and partners, and perhaps most importantly our readers, will be able to secure Britain’s talent. Let us work together to create a brighter future for all who live and work in Britain.

Follow me @sophiehobson and @londonlovesbiz

Read Securing Britain’s Future online now:
London business leaders tackle skills gaps, leadership issues, youth unemployment and workplace diversity