Business leaders spotlight regional challenges in Thames Valley

Business leaders spotlight regional challenges in Thames Valley


Author: Anita Hicken

National law firm Shoosmiths teamed up with RBS and KPMG for the Thames Valley Business Leaders' Dinner in Reading last week.

Thames Valley Business Leaders Dinner
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Left to Right: Emma Gibson, Andrew Morgan KPMG, John Pienaar (Speaker) and Robin Barnes RBS

The event, held at the Hilton Hotel, brought together business leaders from across the region from CEOs to senior management figures. The dinners are an important platform to exchange views, share best practice and learn from each other.

Over 150 guests heard from keynote speaker John Pienaar, broadcaster and BBC Radio 5 Live's Chief Political correspondent, who explained some of the key issues the main political parties must address in the run up to next years general election.

Emma Gibson, a highly regarded corporate partner at Shoosmiths, listed in The Lawyer's Hot 100, said: 'As business leaders the Thames Valley region offers us many advantages, but there are also challenges too. The brain drain of talent to London remains an ongoing issue, as does the growing shortage of candidates in the job market with the relevant skills.'

'As a business community it is incumbent on all of us to tackle these challenges and find solutions to them; we can do this through our local enterprise partnerships and I urge businesses to actively engage with the partnership's plans for the region.'

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) predicts that employers will not be able to make the most of the recovery because they are unable to find candidates with the right skills for more than one in five job vacancies. Around 22% or 124,800 of 559,600 job vacancies in England are so-called 'skills shortage vacancies' according to the latest UKCES report.

The number of job vacancies with a skills shortage has almost doubled since 2009, while the overall number of job vacancies has risen by 45% and is back to pre-crisis levels.

You can read more about the Thames Valley Business Leaders May Forum: here

You can read more about the UKECS report: here

You can find out more about broadcaster John Pienaar: here