The recruitment industry has been identified as a key player in attempts to rebalance the UK economy away from London and the South-East, with Scotland playing an important role.
The recent announcement by Ford of its intention to close its production plant in Bridgend, Wales next year, with the loss of 1700 jobs demonstrates the fragility of communities that are dependent on a single major employer.
It also highlights the importance of having a government strategy that ensures industries are located disparately across the country.
Left unchecked, employers would inevitably gravitate towards the UK’s southern economic and financial powerhouse.
It is there, after all, where transport links to the continent are closest, where supply chains are most conveniently serviced and, crucially, where they have access to the widest possible skills base.
It’s the job of a responsible government to put in place an economic strategy that ensures there are incentives for employers to locate in other parts of the country to generate wealth and employment.
Having a ready supply of skilled workers is essential, both a potential workforce that can be trained as well as specialist staff who will be prepared to relocate from other parts of the country or from abroad.
In the coming weeks the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) will meet with MPs representing constituencies across the UK to discuss the role that the professional recruitment sector can play in assisting the Government.
The inevitable complications caused by Brexit will require a flexible visa route that enables highly skilled professionals to work and live in the UK to deliver fixed-term services.
“The skills gap across the professional sectors is particularly acute in engineering and IT hubs across the UK,” APSCo said.
In meetings with policy makers representing Scotland, the Midlands and the North of England, the trade association will share how access to talent is central to achieving ambitions to deliver new opportunities and regeneration.
Tania Bowers, General Counsel at APSCo, said, “The Government’s current Industrial Strategy recognises the economic imbalance that exists between London and the regions outside of the capital and is committed to boosting regional economies through the provision of strong infrastructure and favourable business environments. However, the success of these programmes pivots on the availability of skills.”