• Barnett Waddingham
    Barnett Waddingham
  • Talent: Arguably the greatest challenge for CEOs

    By Justin Rix, Partner, Grant Thornton

    Investing in talent and skills is a top priority among high growth businesses. Even with this focus on investment, one in two senior decision-makers of high growth businesses say it’s hard to find people with the right skills.[i]

    In current times of uncertainty, finding talent is now arguably the greatest challenge facing CEOs and their organisations. Do you have the skills to ensure your business is future fit? 92% of businesses surveyed revealed that within the next five years they’ll need people with skills they don’t currently have.[ii]

    Our Grant Thornton People Power Report, raises critical questions for all organisations on their talent and skills strategies based on research from 1,000 fast-growing organisations. We include key issues to consider when developing a people strategy and examples of businesses who are doing it really well… 

    Challenge: competing for in-demand talent

    Business leaders must continue to develop innovative talent strategies. With 88% of high-growth businesses expecting an increase in competition for talent in the next year, you have to look outside traditional recruitment routes to effectively compete with more established players in the market.[iii]

    “Job seekers today behave like consumers, visiting an average seven different job sites and reading six to seven reviews before forming an opinion about an organisation. Candidates expect a level of transparency and authenticity, so they want to hear from real people working at an organisation,” says Joe Wiggins, head of corporate communications EMEA, at Glassdoor.

    Among 16 to 25-year-olds, the four most important attributes in prospective employers include a fair salary and benefits, a clear future career path, responsible and ethical business practices, and making a difference to society.[iv]With millennials making up over a third of the workforce by 2020, how do you make joining your business an attractive option?

    Challenge: equipping your people to be more than machines

    Technical skills are not enough, businesses need talent with a growth mindset.

    Creative, collaborative, adaptable and innovative – the skills that every fast-growing business needs. And it isn’t just about new people. It’s important to also recognise and maximise the untapped talent within your existing workforce, including older workers and those returning from maternity leave, or career breaks.

    Challenge: seeing past academics and looking for potential

    Building diversity and inclusivity into your workforce will strengthen your competitive advantage. In today’s volatile market, the more diverse the skills, ideas, views, and experiences you embed in your business, the more resilient and, as research has shown, the more profitable it will be.

    Apprentices are a great example, providing another source of future talent and skills. The Apprenticeship Levy, introduced in April 2017, provides the opportunity to fund apprenticeships within your business, whether considering new hires, retraining employees or developing employees’ skills for more senior roles. 

    Challenge: keeping talent in a rapid growth environment

    Having identified and invested in new streams of talent and skills, your business needs a strategy for retaining them. Companies that understand what truly engages people and what they really value have the best retention rates. Increasingly it is less about transactional benefits and more about learning opportunities and personal development, business values and culture, and purpose.

    Download ‘People power: fuelling your growth through talent and skills’ or get in touch with our team to learn how we can support your business to attract, develop and retain your top talent. Call +44 (0)20 7728 3344 or email apprenticeships@uk.gt.com.

    i, ii, iii: Grant Thornton’s People Power Report

    iv: OnePoll survey of 1,000 16-25-year-olds, Grant Thornton, 2018


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