Business experts in Northampton criticise Government for not helping firms find skilled workers

Shaun Young, of Grant Thornton NNL-140728-161539001
Shaun Young, of Grant Thornton NNL-140728-161539001

The Government should be doing more to help local businesses recruit and retain skilled employees, according to new research from business and financial advisers Grant Thornton Northampton.

More than half (53 percent) of firms surveyed across the Eastern region, including a proportion from Northamptonshire, said that Government initiatives such as the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) which offers tax advantaged share options to qualifying employees, do not go far enough in supporting companies to attract the skilled staff they need to achieve further growth.

The survey comes on the back of the latest Grant Thornton/ ICAEW Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) for Q2 2014 which shows that recruiting staff with the right skills is a greater issue for CEOs now than it was a year ago, particularly in the region’s construction, IT & communications and logistics sectors

With unemployment falling and the trend expected to continue – the BCM predicts UK employment growth will rise to 2.2% over the coming 12 months with the potential to create a further 450,000 private sector jobs - employers looking to attract talent will be under increased pressure to offer higher wages. Staff turnover could also become a growing issue with business performance likely to be affected if key talent goes elsewhere.

Shaun Young, tax associate director and employer solutions specialist at Grant Thornton Northampton, said: “The improving economy is opening new opportunities for businesses but at the same time, pressure is mounting on employers to up their game to attract and retain staff and we are clearly hearing that local business would like to see more help from the Government in this area.

“Falling unemployment means firms are competing over scarcer resources but if the economy is going to continue its upward trend, the UK needs a truly diversified pipeline of skilled talent to take companies forward – something business leaders fear just isn’t in place at the moment.

“Whilst Government incentives to boost employee recruitment and retention can form part of the solution, businesses may be better placed to concentrate on what they already have, whether that’s by investing in more apprenticeships or coaching and developing existing employees to ensure they have the right skills for the future,” he added.