As the UK economy continues to specialise in high-skilled, knowledge-intensive activities, the availability of workers with these attributes is an increasingly important consideration for business communities in Somerset and Wiltshire who are trying to nurture growth in the modern economy.
If the area is going to compete it needs the best possible pool of talent with plenty of good candidates for businesses to choose from. But, the truth is, we have a very low rate of unemployment and lack of available workforce is now becoming a huge issue.
As the labour market tightens it imposes an increased upward pressure on wages. This makes it harder for small businesses in particular to recruit or expand without offering higher worker benefits that bigger business rivals can potentially do. The knock-on effect is that many small businesses are struggling to grow because they simply cannot fill job vacancies with the right people at the right cost.
In our region we are already seeing a ‘pull’ to Hinkley Point C which is adding an extra headache for small business owners. It’s difficult for independent small businesses to compete with the higher salaries that Hinkley can offer.