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Regional insights

The view from the West Midlands

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 West Midlands.

What's changed since December 2021?

Optimism in the West Midlands about the country’s economic prospects has fallen by 6% since December to 68%, however this remains above the national average of 65%.

Of the mid-sized businesses in the West Midlands surveyed, two thirds (66%) are experiencing unusually high attrition rates – with more people leaving their business than normal.

Two thirds (64%) are offering higher salaries for new roles, and almost three quarters (72%) confirmed they are offering pay rises or bonuses to help retain their existing people.

The battle for talent

Competing in the talent market also requires looking beyond just salary, with jobseekers increasingly taking the wider employee offering into consideration. Many businesses in the West Midlands are willing to adopt innovative new working styles in a bid for talent. Over two thirds (68%) said they would be likely to trial a four-day working week, in line with the current pilot in the UK, in their business.

Attracting and retaining the necessary skills is an ongoing challenge and many businesses are now looking to government for support. One fifth (20%) of respondents said incentives for employers to invest in skills attraction and development should be a top priority for policymakers.

120x120-sue-knight.pngSue Knight, Practice Leader, Midlands

“Job seekers now consider a much broader picture when deciding where they want to work, and a company’s overall employer brand and offering has never been more important. People are placing much more emphasis on aspects of the employee proposition, such as the long-term development opportunities, the workplace culture, an employer’s focus on wellbeing as well as inclusion and diversity.

“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.”

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