Every two months, we ask business leaders across the country to share their expectations and priorities for the future. We want to track how sentiment is changing in the market and get insight on timely issues: from tax to ESG.
Read the latest views from business leaders in the South East.
What's changed since December 2021?
As we start the year, optimism about the country’s economic prospects in the South East has risen by 12% since December, from 64% to 76%. This is above the national average of 65%.
Of the mid-sized businesses in the South East surveyed, 70% are experiencing unusually high attrition rates – with more people leaving their business than normal. This is above the national average of 62%.
74% are offering higher salaries for new roles, and more than two thirds (68%) confirmed they are offering pay rises or bonuses to help retain their existing people.
The battle for talent
Competing in the talent market requires looking beyond just salary, with jobseekers increasingly taking the wider employee offering into consideration. The research finds that the mid-market is responding to this, with a significant majority (84%) offering flexible working opportunities as standard and 72% are currently reviewing their employee benefits package to make it more competitive.
Attracting and retaining the necessary skills is an ongoing challenge and many businesses are now looking to government for support. Over one third (36%) said incentives for employers to invest in skills attraction and development should be a top priority for policymakers.
“A business’ success ultimately hinges on its people, and with the job market highly competitive, looking beyond the normal recruitment pathways could offer a solution. Businesses should be challenging themselves to consider whether it’s possible to recruit from a wider talent pool or to develop and retrain their existing people into new roles to fill potential skills gaps. Apprenticeships, for example, can be a very effective way of achieving both goals, while also increasing diversity within an organisation.”