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Recruiting the right people is a challenge for businesses

PUBLISHED: 19:03 13 March 2019

Millennials are going to need a range of `softer skills' for future employment says a report from Grant Thornton.
Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Millennials are going to need a range of `softer skills' for future employment says a report from Grant Thornton. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

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Young people in Suffolk looking to build a future career will need new ‘softer’ skills to secure their position in a rapidly evolving job market, according to a report from financial and business advisers Grant Thornton.

Hazel Platt, Practice Leader at Grant Thornton’s four East of England offices. 
Picture: GRANT THORNTONHazel Platt, Practice Leader at Grant Thornton’s four East of England offices. Picture: GRANT THORNTON

The firm’s ‘People Power’ study highlighted how the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), record high employment rates and ongoing skills shortages, which could be further exacerbated by Brexit, are all changing the world of work.

As a result, recruiting and keeping the right people to drive business growth has become an increasing challenge for many employers - and an even more pressing concern for high growth companies, with over 90% of those questioned during the research saying they don’t currently have the skills within their organisation they will need over the next five years.

Grant Thornton’s report found the skills which will be most valuable to high growth businesses are unsurprisingly technical (59%) and digital (56%), but also entrepreneurial (43%) and emotional (41%), with only a third citing academic abilities as a priority.

Hazel Platt, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s four offices in the East of England explains: “The pace of technological change means employing people who can simply ‘do the job’ is not enough. Employers need creative minds to bring innovative thought and ways of doing things that will drive productivity and profitability in challenging market conditions.

“Traditional recruitment methods that focus on academic achievement and work experience can often mean businesses overlook the very people with the ideal mindset for growth - creative, empathetic, entrepreneurial, adaptable and a strong team player. Thinking more laterally about how to attract employees with the right values and potential over formal qualifications can uncover new pools of talent and deliver wider possibilities for growth.”

‘Millennials’ (16-25 year olds) are expected to make up a third of the global workforce by 2020 and while Grant Thornton’s research shows many (56%) still seek competitive pay and good career prospects (52%), they also prioritise working for organisations with an ethical and responsible approach (30%) that make a difference to society (25%).

Hazel continued: “High employment rates and the rise of job review sites like Glassdoor mean workers have never had more power. Our research suggests the answer to attracting talent, especially the next generation, may lie beyond simply offering higher pay and enhanced benefits. Culture and the overall purpose of an organisation is playing an increasingly important role.

“Unfortunately, there is no simple, universal solution to help businesses tackle the common barriers to talent management our research identified which are: finding people with the right mindset to drive growth; competing for in-demand talent; retaining skills in a rapidly evolving environment; and equipping people for the workplace of the future.”

Grant Thornton hosted a ‘Directors Insights’ event at its Ipswich office to discuss the findings with local firms.

Marlini Finney, finance director at Suffolk manufacturing firm Challs International Ltd said at the event: “Recruiting new talent is an essential part of our growth plans. People with the right attitude and skills who can fit our organisation’s culture are always sought. They often add value in ways we may not have originally foreseen.

“It is often a struggle to find the right skills locally - but this can depend on the function areas. Relatively low unemployment levels in South Suffolk have impacted the job market and attracting people to the area can be a challenge.”

Hazel concluded: “People will remain the critical driver for future business productivity and sustainable, long term success. Those organisations who make sure they have the right talent and skills in place to drive growth will be the winners and play a vital role in shaping a vibrant, productive and progressive economy that benefits all.”

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