The central south is facing a serious skills shortage in the next five years which is likely to hold back growth and prosperity.
That’s one of the main findings contained in a White Paper on employment trends in the area produced by leading regional law firm Trethowans.
The firm also noted that a significant proportion of the contentious issues reported in the workplace over the last twelve months related to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
With offices in Poole, Salisbury, Southampton and Winchester, Trethowans has obtained opinions from across the region. To give its unique perspective, the firm’s highly regarded Employment and Immigration Team led by Senior Partner Simon Rhodes, has surveyed more than 100 people from the three distinct and key stakeholder groups in the Employment Triangle, namely owners/managers, employees and human resources professionals.
Eastleigh MP Mims Davies, who has just joined the Government under Prime Minister Teresa May, has added her weight to the report. Writing the foreword in the 20-page document Mrs Davies said: “I very much welcome the opportunity to launch this important piece of work which examines in some detail an issue very close to my heart: the workplace, particularly with women in mind.”
Eastleigh MP Mims Davies has recently been appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Matt Hancock, the digital policy minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Her other duties include being Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament; Member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee.
She added: “In my role as the MP for the constituency in which Trethowans has its Southampton headquarters, I make it my priority to see and understand first-hand how we can all play our part in bringing prosperity to the region. One of the important roles for Government is building the right environment for business to flourish, create jobs and boost the local economy.” Simon Rhodes, speaking at the launch event in Stoneham near Eastleigh, said: “The Employment Triangle of bosses, employees and HR professionals, highlighted the skills shortage facing the public and private sectors. It is already a key issue for the central south and the unanimous feeling across all three groups was that the skills gap will only get bigger. The three groups also agreed that the struggle to recruit skilled workers would continue to be a major impediment to growth and prosperity across the region.
“The fact that all three groups consider this to be a major challenge, should be an invitation to owners/managers, employees and HR teams to work more closely together to resolve it. Putting all three viewpoints into the mix would create more workable ideas to help staff retention and recruitment.
“Sadly, in many organisations that rarely happens in a meaningful way. It seems to us that all organisations – and the Employment Triangle relationships within them – would benefit from more innovation and flexibility. The combined power of employer, employee and human resources needs to be better harnessed for the good of the staff and organisation as whole.”
Reflecting on the tensions in the workplace surrounding pregnancy and maternity discrimination, Mr Rhodes said: “This area appears to be creating some tension and challenges for all three groups. This finding is given substance by anecdotal evidence gathered by Trethowans’ lawyers and reports published independently of this survey.
“From our findings, we feel we have enough evidence to suggest that pregnancy and maternity-related issues could become an increasing workplace battleground over the next few years. This is obviously a great shame. The Employment Triangle can surely do more together to achieve a workable balance and reduce this tension.
“We are delighted that Mims has taken such an interest in our project and I have to say the findings will give all three stakeholders groups some serious food for thought. I would certainly like to thank all the participants who have given their time so freely.”
For anyone who wants to receive a copy of the White Paper entitled “Working Towards 2020: Employment Trends in the Central South,” contact Employment Partner Kathryn Casey-Evans by email on Kathryn.Casey-Evans@trethowans.com
To find out more about Trethowans visit www.trethowans.com