PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 2 | PEOPLE POWER
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
How the British Chamber’s latest campaign is looking to celebrate, support and develop the most important part of any business – it’s people
In every corner of the country and sector of the economy, we hear that access to skills is one of the top concerns for businesses.
Research carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce shows that around three-quarters of UK firms trying to recruit are having difficulties finding the right person for the role with some roles sitting empty for as long as 6 months. In fact, over half of the businesses say the time taken to fill average vacancies has increased in the last five years.
Skills shortages put a brake on business competitiveness and productivity.
UK productivity growth (as measured by output per worker) has averaged just 0.4% in the ten years since the financial crisis, with the weak levels weighing on wage growth, living standards and overall UK economic growth.
The changing nature of the workplace is also creating new types of jobs that demand digital skills and displace some traditional roles – a quick glance of any vacancy site reveals a whole list of job titles that didn’t exist 10 or even 5 years ago and many employers are revaluating the skills they will need from their teams in the years to come.
Investing in talent will not only benefit individuals and their employer but also local business communities and the wider economy.
Therefore, the Chamber Network has launched a campaign to support companies to address these crucial issues. Working with government, businesses, academics and employees; the campaign hopes to help make the UK a more productive, attractive and modern place to work.
Shaping policy through a new Workplace Training and Development Commission:
This UK-wide Commission will bring together employers and academics to identify the barriers to business investment in skills. Focusing on the training, up-skilling and re-skilling of people aged 25 years and over in the workforce - those likely not to have engaged in education or training for many years - the Commission will identify areas of best practice for companies and recommend policy changes to the government which will be of relevance over a 10-15 year timeframe.
Showcasing the range of diverse career paths on offer in towns and cities across the UK through Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase Days:
In February, the Chamber Network will be running Business Showcase Days. Focused on addressing business concerns about the loss of skills from local areas to larger cities and regions, the campaign will support businesses to open their doors to their local communities to showcase the wide range of career opportunities available.
Championing a flexible working culture by encouraging firms to adapt their working practices in order to attract new and diverse talent:
The final piece of the puzzle will be to support business in the recruitment and retention of a skilled and diverse workforce. The Chamber’s research found a 39% increase in the number of employees requesting flexible working arrangements compared to two years ago. The flexible working initiative will provide firms with the guidance and resources to create modern, flexible working environments for all employees. The focus is to enable firms to recruit from a wider talent pool and retain workers who might otherwise leave the business by helping firms establish their own flexible working policies.