The New ‘War for Talent’??

Published: 2 July 2014

Two thirds of UK businesses fear that their hiring plans could be derailed because they won’t be able to find the people with the skills they need, according to a survey by international professional services firm PwC.  Once again raising fears that the UK market is entering into a ‘A New War for Talent’.

The survey of over 1,300 Chief Executive Officers in 68 countries reveals that a quarter of UK business leaders plan to increase their headcount by up to 5% in the next 12 months, with a further 20% planning increases of up to 8% and a further one in five planning increases of over 8%.

However, the research reveals that UK business leaders are more concerned about the availability of key skills than any of their Western European counterparts, rating it as the biggest business threat to their growth plans. Technology and Engineering firms report the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.

The research finds that with certain skills in high demand but short supply, UK businesses are widening their reach to find the talent they need.  Particularly in the face of rising labour costs in high growth markets and a shortage of talent in key functions.

The research also shows that UK business leaders are looking to the government to do more to help to plug the skills gap. Two-thirds of UK CEOs say creating a skilled workforce should be the joint top priority for the government (alongside ensuring financial sector stability and access to affordable capital). However, only 7% of UK business leaders believe the government has been effective at achieving this.

In contrast, an overwhelming majority of business leaders (93%) say they need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent, but over two-thirds of UK businesses haven’t taken any steps to do this yet.  Therefore the overall message is clear that organisations will need to be increasingly innovative and creative in both their hiring and retention strategies.  Especially as we enter into ‘A New War for Talent’.

Berwick Partners leads the way in recruiting senior leadership positions across both the Private and Public sectors regionally, nationally and internationally.  Supporting organisations making key appointments which have a critical impact upon their business.

Simon Walton is a Partner and Head of the Consumer & Retail Practice at Berwick Partners.

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