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London could lose its crown as Europes tech hub

Michael Bennett, managing director of ReThink Recruitment argues that the government and technology companies should be focusing more of their efforts on developing long term strategies which ensure talent pipelines are in place or the capital could suffer the consequences in years to come.

“Rightly, the Mayor of London’s research sings the praises of the capital and its position as Europe’s leading tech hub, but what is being done to ensure London doesn’t suffer because of a lack of talent management strategies? After all, it’s no secret that the UK’s tech sector has long suffered from severe skill shortages, yet little appears to have been done to help alleviate them. And with research suggesting that in the capital alone the number of tech firms has increased by 46% in the past five years, continued growth at this rate will exacerbate this further”.

“While there’s no magic wand solution to fix this issue, what’s clear to many is that the industry and government bodies need to work closer together to get strategies in place, rather than just talk about it.  Our recommendations would include:

• IT Apprenticeships. They have been the buzzword for several years now, but what about offering these on not only a much larger scale but also to all ages?  It’s been spoken about time and time again that the workforce could benefit from the experiences of silver surfers, for example. It makes perfect sense then to include this demographic in apprenticeship planning to open up the talent pool.

• Flexible working. This needs to be offered by far greater numbers of organisations and built into talent management strategies to ensure that it is a reality and not just a theoretical option. There has long been an issue of women exiting the sector due to the motherhood penalty – if HR strategies truly supported flexible working options perhaps a far greater number of females would not only stay in the workforce but also be encouraged to enter it?

• Get them younger. Employers also need to tap into talent at a much earlier stage than the majority currently are, ideally at school age.  And perhaps even more importantly the sector needs to be described and sold as we all know it to be: cutting edge and innovative with great career opportunities.  There are a myriad of exciting career paths available yet it pains me to see them being promoted so poorly.”

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