News & Insights

What impact will the spring statement have on recruitment?

By Holmes Noble 14/03/2018

As many anticipated, the spring statement, presented earlier today, did little more than announce the latest economic and public finance forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). While no new spending was unveiled, the Treasury did announce the smallest budget deficit of the last fifteen years and forecasted employment to grow over the next five years so that by 2022 there will be over 500,000 more people with jobs.

In light of this, executive search, interim and talent consulting firm, Holmes Noble, has asked some of their practice leads for their views on how government policy and spending will affect the executive search industry.

Michelle Carson-Williams, Chief Executive & Founder

“The Spring Statement saw progression to two key challenges HR professionals face. First, the skills crisis the UK is being confronted with is extensive so, the announcement by Philip Hammond this afternoon to invest £80m towards apprenticeships is vitally important. However, this needs to be backed up with additional reform and support to ensure both businesses and future apprentices take up the opportunities available.

“The second key initiative was the £95m allocated towards smart technologies. But, the question for those of us in HR is in how to ensure that the right employees are powered with the right skills and knowledge in a digital age.”

Ben Gilbert, Partner

“While productivity in the UK is faltering by comparison to many of our European neighbours, steps are being taken to rectify this. As announced by Philip Hammond, “manufacturing sector enjoying its longest run of growth for 50 years” and has added three million jobs. It’s also positive to see actions by government, such as the intention announced last week by international trade secretary, Liam Fox, to challenge the punitive trade tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium into the US by seeking a UK exemption.

“This acknowledgement and the promise of further government investment towards the nation’s productivity fund this year are encouraging. It helps bolster advances in UK manufacturing and technology, to keep us competitive globally.”

Amy Speake, Partner

“Holmes Noble has long advocated the importance of learning and upskilling, so we welcome the government’s plan to invest £80m to help small firms recruit construction apprentices.

“Business needs to play a leading role in preparing the workforce for an increasingly digital economy. We need to close the skills gaps to prepare our teams for the seismic shifts in the way we work because of the emerging digital economy.

“Candidates seek out prospective new employers who are investing strategically to train their teams in the skills they’ll not just need for today but for tomorrow.”

Matthew Morris, Head of Energy & Infrastructure Practice

“Increased infrastructure spending for new housebuilding, alongside further support for construction skills training were certainly welcome news last year.

“Because of significant under-investment, combined with an ageing workforce and the potential reduction of labour from the EU, we now have a skills gap for the frontline roles required to deliver such initiatives.

“However, the government’s promise this afternoon of further reform is much needed. If they are to stay on track to meet the target for 300,000 new homes to be built each year, it’s extremely positive to see the Housing Growth Partnership to be more than doubled to £220m and an additional £1.67bn to be given to London to start building a further 27,000 affordable homes by end of 2021-22. The question will be how they can replicate this elsewhere in the UK?

“Major infrastructure projects such as Thameslink and Crossrail will complete this year as will Highways England’s, first road investment strategy. This means mobility across UK cities is improving and with the promise that English cities are being invited to bid for the remaining £840m from regional transport fund in bid to deliver on local transport priorities, is a sure step in the right direction.”

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