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Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Future 50: The challenges of attracting talent when people are reluctant to relocate

PUBLISHED: 13:45 21 August 2017

Conducting an Interview

Conducting an Interview

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EDP/EADT Future 50 businesses from East Anglia’s tech sector have spoken about the challenges of attracting talent, especially candidates coming from outside the region.

With rates of pay and job opportunities greater for tech workers in nearby Cambridge and London, some employers say they struggle to appeal to young people with the right skill set. Others say there is a percentage of this workforce that look to East Anglia for the quality of life it offers.

The comments come in the wake of a new study from think tank Resolution Foundation which shows employee mobility has dropped by a quarter since the millennium. But just why are people generally more reluctant to relocate for a new role?

Founder of Norwich-based video software development company FXHome, Josh Davies, said a change in the career expectations of young people could be behind their decreased mobility.

“In our industry, young people expect to go into a job for a much shorter period of time, as they gather skills and as a high-end developer, you are going to have more options if you are based in London or Cambridge,” he said.

“For some jobs we look to bring people in from elsewhere who have those skills – that is the hard part. The other option is to bring people in who we can train up ourselves. But this is the long view – when you need someone immediately that is when you have problems.”

However, head of IT at Ipswich-based development house Digibee, David Pitts, said he had “never come across this as a challenge”.

He added: “The people who have come to us for interview, we assume they have already made the decision to discount London.

“Employees today are a lot more interested in the quality of life a job can offer than they were a few years ago.”

Offering the right relocation package is one way of attracting the talent you want, advises Mary Thompson, regional director at automotive and logistics recruitment firm Progress Recruitment. And, she says, it can sometimes be the employer who is reluctant to consider a relocation.

She added: “Employers can be quite hesitant about taking on someone who is looking to relocate, unless they have housing lined up. They are more cautious because it could come to the job offer and the candidate decides that actually they want to stay.”

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