That was the overriding consensus at a recent Yorkshire Business Insider Economic Forum at Headingley to which over 100 CEOs and MDs flocked on a bitterly cold, dark and bleak winter morning.
Reading about the event now from the warmth of our offices reinforces the importance of the vociferous call to action from a panel of heavyweights including Terry Hodgkinson, chair of Yorkshire Forward, and John Goodfellow of Skipton Building Society, who has risen through the ranks to become CEO.
Hodgkinson was appalled at the decline in investment in people development highlighted in a joint Yorkshire Forward and CBI biannual survey – at a time when it is most needed. Having invested an unprecedented number of days and budget in training for the Quest team (39 days and over £30,000 in budget) in 2007, it appears that we are in the minority.
And in the knowledge that “twentysomethings” will expect at least six career progressions, it’s up to employers to act now to keep them challenged and stimulated. The more savvy, such as Above & Beyond Architecture and Paul Waite Associates, are setting up scholarships and mentoring schemes respectively to attract, develop and retain the best people and maintain a steady flow to ensure smooth succession planning.
And on that very topic, we too are seeking a first-class operator for the role of deputy MD.
Happy talent-spotting, fellow SMEs!