The Recruitment Industry in Wales

With record employment levels, a number of proposed capital projects and growing industry sectors, Lewis Fawsitt, Sales Director for leading recruitment specialists Acorn, demonstrates how Wales provides an effective platform for any Global business.

Wales has a vibrant and thriving economy and is continuing to enjoy high levels of foreign inward investment in areas such as IT, technology, financial services and future and traditional manufacturing.  With record employment levels, Wales also has the lowest levels of unemployment in the UK.

The expansion in investment and employment coupled with the region being a desirable place to live and work, with a relatively low cost of living, creates a perfect combination for accelerated growth, putting Wales in a unique position when compared to other regions in the UK.

With Wso 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 the work available in Wales has 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 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 including the Metro system, Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and Wylfa B nuclear reactor in North Wales, which mean that there is a significant demand for construction and civil engineering skills.  And chances are that this is only one of the sectors where demand will grow exponentially over the next 10 years. Thanks to growth and inward investment, we are also seeing a steady increase in the demand for executive and senior management level career opportunities.

"Wales has a vibrant and thriving economy and is continuing to enjoy high levels of foreign inward investment."

Within our own business, we have created a number of new specialist divisions in-line with these growing sectors, to ensure 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 ensuring they are well positioned to take advantage of the higher value roles in the region.

That being said, the demand for talented individuals is outstripping the pool available and, therefore, 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 world.

We have seen our domestic permanent recruitment business in Wales grow by nearly 30% over the last 6 months and our international recruitment hires in the region have increased by 22%.

Of course, this 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 ensure supply continues to meet demand.

It would be fair to say that, in Wales, the Government and businesses are now more closely aligned than ever with their shared focus on the importance of working collaboratively to address skills availability, and are beginning to take a more proactive and long-term view to ensure the growth of the economy can be sustained through the availability of the right skills for the future.

Subsequently, I believe the future of the recruitment industry in Wales is looking bright and I’m excited about the opportunities that the next few years will bring.

Lewis Fawsitt is the Sales Director for the award-winning Acorn Group, one of the UK’s leading recruitment and training companies and part of Synergie, the 5th largest recruiter in Europe and 15th Globally.

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