Published: 13 October 2015

“What is the biggest issue that gives you a headache?”  That was the opening question that the attending delegates were asked at this year’s IGD conference.  The number one response from 23% of the audience of retailers and FMCG/Consumer suppliers, more than double the nearest rival response, was…”the skills shortage” in the current market.  An interesting and insightful start to the day.

The President’s Address followed on from Andy Clarke, CEO of Asda, and this included comments regarding the speed of change, growth and the return of consumer confidence.  Meanwhile Joanne Denney-Finch, CEO of the IGD, predicted a regeneration of larger retail stores, a turning tide of consumer loyalty and a fightback from major brand manufacturers. 

Interestingly Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsburys, also added that there was and would continue to be a re-investment and regeneration in larger store formats.  A sentiment echoed by Chairman of Morrisons, Andy Higginson, who also predicted a rebirth and return to prominence of the Big 4 Grocers; reminding the audience that Big 4 still held a 75% market share in the UK.

The finale came from David Lewis, CEO of Tesco who highlighted long term and ‘marginal gains’ in both the overall market and of course Tesco.

But the common theme of the day….it is all about people - retaining the existing talent, meanwhile identifying and recruiting more, despite a backdrop of an apparent skills shortage.

Berwick Partners (an Odgers Berndtson company) 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, both on a sector and functional level.

Simon Walton is a Partner and head of the Consumer and Retail Practices at Berwick Partners

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