While the Chancellor was unveiling the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, a concerned group of local Directors met at the Jobshop UK and Engage Executive Jobs’ Directors’ Lunch in The Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth. In their fourth and final event of 2016, it was no surprise that the biggest topic of conversation was concern for our local workforce in a post-Trump, post Brexit world.
Jobshop UK Directors, Frances Miles and Tracey Wood, kicked off the lunch with an update of the UK recruitment market which has changed rapidly in the last 2 to 3 months. Whilst starting to pick up now, it is an industry that tends to be the temperature gauge for changes in the economy and they both shared their concerns of the 31.7million in employment in Britain today, 1.6million unemployed and 750,000 vacancies. It would appear that the 1.6million could be seen to fill the 750,000 vacancies but sadly, many of those included in these unemployment figures are unable to take up work or do not have the skills needed for the vacancies. If we lost the 3.2million non-British workers in Britain as well, the figures will not add up.
Frances and Tracey highlighted three main areas currently affecting recruitment in the local area: A Candidate shortage, highlighted even further by our reliance on the 25% of the Poole workforce that don’t hold British passports; a Skills shortage which has worryingly increased from 30 to 70 sector areas in the last 18 months; and a Talent shortage for more agile, inspirational and motivational workers that are able and willing to work in this new fast-paced and unsure environment.
Directors, who attended from a range of industries including legal, education, finance, retail and IT, agreed on one thing – a general feeling of frustration and unease for the future.
Echoing this sentiment, guest speaker Mark Constantine, Co-founder of Lush, who followed, pointed out that 75% of everything sold on the high street today is made abroad. From Dyson Cleaners to New Look shoes, the only two high street businesses that make all of their products in Britain are Greggs and Lush. Thanking the Jobshop Directors for illustrating the recruitment problems that Lush faced, as the 43rd fastest growing company in Britain, he highlighted how much they needed plenty of hands on deck.
Mark explained that the base roles of capitalism are freedom of movement of capital, goods and people and that this is not a menu where you can select one or the other. He went on to say that, in his experience, the current climate in Britain is very anti-business, predominantly caused by a crisis in our political parties, with both main parties riven by the need to cut immigration but at the same time serve capitalist businesses.
Discussion later from the floor raised concerns about the black economy, unscrupulous competitors lying to customers and the effect on the economy as currency contracts run out.
Mark closed his talk by asking members of the audience to try out Lush’s latest product, Rump.
Engage Executive Jobs’ executive recruitment director, Sally Bennett, commented: “We’ve been delighted by the huge popularity of the Engage Executive Jobs and Jobshop UK Directors’ Lunches, and have been privileged to have some fascinating speakers who have helped make all the lunches a sell-out success. Mark’s presentation was particularly pertinent with the current economic and political climate, and 2017 will see us welcoming more high profile and relevant speakers to the floor.”