With a technical skills gap becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK and the concept of a ‘job for life’ a distant memory, businesses are being warned that by not providing a great workplace, they risk losing their greatest talent to a company that does.
Sam Gregory, managing director of B2B at Tangerine PR, warned that employees’ needs are evolving and as demand for limited skills increases, businesses must adapt to meet them. She said: “It’s really the modernisation of the workplace. It’s become less formal, hierarchy is less important and there’s no concept of a ‘job for life’. Employers simply cannot take their workforce for granted – they have to be more transparent and share more with them, it’s a very different environment that businesses have to operate in now.”
“It’s interesting that we say that there is no job for life but as the MD of a growing business, I don’t like that idea and I don’t believe it,” added Jonathan Bowers, managing director of hosting and cloud specialist UKFast. “I believe that we can create jobs for life. The ultimate goal for me is to develop people in a way so that they never have to leave – everybody wins that way and that’s how we can justify developing and investing in people.
“With technical teams, they are in such high demand but they have higher demands than non-skilled team members too. As technology and the internet are constantly evolving, technical staff need constant training to keep their skills up-to-date and continue their development. In my experience, without this they will move on to somewhere that will give them the support and career development that they need.”
Gregory continued: “People are starting to take pensions and more traditional, conventional perks for granted and they are not having an impact or seen to hold any value. People are looking at different areas to find this value. Is it the environment? Is it the social aspect? Is it that I like working for a trendy company because it fits with me; or a conventional environment because it makes me feel safe? Employees are demanding the whole package.”
Joining the round table debate discussing what makes a great workplace, Gary Chaplin, managing director of Communicate Recruitment Solutions, warned that it is not just technically-skilled employees that demand a top-class work environment. He said: “It is not only in employment, it is society in general; people crave change all of the time.
“Look at phones, for example, people want a new phone after a year. Transfer that back into human beings, people don’t like to have the same things for too long. If you look at it as an employer, this constant need for change is not only a great opportunity to attract people to your business, it is also a chance for you to look at what your team really wants and how people within the organisation are growing in a different way.”
Clare Danahay, Senior Design Associate at Advanced Workplace Associates added: “There’s no doubt that in certain markets the workplace can be a powerful tool for recruitment and retention…and be highly efficient too.
“Our client, Mintel the London based global consumer research firm, claim to have dramatically improved their recruitment and retention rate, and reduced sick days as a result of the new and agile workplace experience they have in their new office at St Pauls, London. Everyone just wants to come to work for them every day because it’s such a great place to work.”