Record employment levels, a number of proposed capital projects and industry sector growth means that Wales is showcasing a highly effective platform for any business and professional.
With a vibrant and thriving economy, Wales continues to enjoy high levels of foreign inward investment in areas such as IT, technology and financial services as well as both future and traditional manufacturing.
This expansion in investment and employment - coupled with a relatively low cost of living and the region being a desirable place to live and work - creates a perfect combination for accelerated growth, putting Wales in a unique position when compared to other regions across the UK.
With so many companies choosing to base themselves in Wales, there is a constant and growing demand for talent in the region and, like many areas of the UK, the market is competitive as a direct result of growth and job creation.
Historically, a lot of available Welsh roles have been in lower skilled, lower value jobs, but in recent years there has been a definite shift – there is now a growing trend among employers looking for highly skilled individuals. A great example is in the IT sector, where key skills in areas such as software development and cyber security are in very high demand throughout the country.
There are also a number of proposed capital projects planned for Wales; the Metro system, Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and Wylfa B nuclear reactor in North Wales to name just a few, meaning significant demand for construction and civil engineering skills. The chances are that this is just one sector where demand will grow exponentially over the next 10 years. Thanks to growth and inward investment, we are also seeing a steady increase in demand for executive and senior management level career opportunities.
Within our own business, we have created a number of new specialist divisions in line with these growing sectors, to make sure we can provide the right employees for businesses to develop both in Wales and the rest of the UK. This includes a dedicated construction team, specialist nuclear division and an executive search and selection practice.
Wales is producing good, highly skilled graduates - and with active apprenticeship programmes in an extensive range of sectors, a large number of people are receiving good quality training making sure they are well positioned to take advantage of higher value roles in the region.
That being said, the demand for talented individuals is currently outstripping the pool available, and so the need to access staff nationally and internationally remains important. Many of our clients have used our international recruitment expertise to access the talent pool that exists within Europe and the rest of the world.
As an example, we saw our domestic permanent recruitment business here in Wales grow by nearly 30% over a six-month period in 2017, and our international recruitment hires in the region during that time increased by 22%.
Of course, this naturally leads us to the challenge that Brexit brings, and the likely complications of accessing talent outside of the UK – but with this challenge will come opportunities. Certainly, from a recruitment perspective, companies will still need to access the best talent, so it presents greater opportunities to develop home-grown skills, as well as the chance to adapt our recruitment and sourcing models to make sure that supply continues to meet demand.
It would be fair to say that within Wales, the Government and businesses are now more closely aligned than ever with a shared focus on the importance of working collaboratively to address skills availability. They are beginning to take a more proactive and long-term view to make sure the growth of the economy can be sustained through the availability of the right skills for the future.
Subsequently, I believe the future for you in Wales is looking bright, and I’m excited about the opportunities that the next few years will bring.
Lewis Fawsitt is Sales Director for the award-winning Acorn Group, one of the UK’s leading specialist recruitment companies and part of Synergie, the fifth largest recruiter in Europe.
You can contact Lewis at Lewis.Fawsitt@acornpeople.com