How our region is fighting the ‘Great Skills Shortage’

Published date: October 3, 2019

The “Great Skills Shortage”

The topic is up for debate just about everywhere I go. Our regions business leaders consider it to be one of the biggest blockers to success. But it got me thinking? How is our region fighting back?

The perception has been for a long time that London takes away our best assets in Technology. They use their ‘big names’, flashy offices and attractive-looking salaries to take first pick from our pool of top talent. However, over the last few years we’ve seen disruptors start to shake things up. Add to this several societal factors and we’re beginning to see the mass migration of top tech candidates slow down.

What are these disruptors doing?

Well to start with, they’re embracing a changing workplace. Offering things like flexible working and the best technologies is considered standard practice in London so that’s a good place to start. It’s clear now that employee’s motivations have, and continue to change. The money race is being replaced with a desire for culture, wellbeing and a good work life balance.

Our region is already benefitting from schemes designed to prevent our talent from hopping on a train and heading for the bright London lights. Norfolk in particular is becoming of the fastest growing tech hubs outside of Cambridge and London in the East of England. The growth of tech start-ups in Norfolk alone is testament to a new wave of ambitious leaders choosing to stay and operate from this area. With better access into Norwich, cheaper living costs, groups such as NorDev and syncNorwich, and a thriving university (UEA) giving birth to the next generation of technology professionals, now really is a fantastic time to be working in tech in our region.

Like many businesses, the need to remain ahead of the game when it comes to recruitment is a high priority. Highly skilled tech talent is not easy or cheap to secure, but we feel that there are far more reasons to be cheerful about the future. Here at Cooper Lomaz, we’re seeing a rise in the number of graduate placements as companies embrace the ‘grow your own’ mind-set. Investing in these young professionals is key as they will become the pioneers of innovation for our region in the years to come.

In truth, we actually have it easy compared to other parts of the UK. We offer a happy place to live and work, a growing generation of bright talented academics coming out of our colleges and universities, and an increasing community of tech start-ups. These positive messages are dispelling the myth that we are struggling to attract and retain highly-skilled workers – we just all need to share the good news!