• 72% of business leaders anticipating a challenging year for recruitment
  • Transportation links hindering growth and appeal of the North West
  • Economic uncertainty slowing the jobs market

A survey has revealed that 72% of business leaders in the North West are bracing their organisations for a tough year in the pursuit of top talent.


With competition for executive talent considered to be at an all-time high, more than 100 business executives met to discuss the recruitment challenges facing business across the North West.


Covering a cross-section of industries, the delegates explored the topic of finding, attracting and recruiting for senior roles in the region.


With uncertainty around Brexit, low unemployment rates, the region’s transport infrastructure and ‘brain-drain’ high of the agenda, delegates were asked to partake in a survey looking at the impact this would have on their efforts for recruiting senior management and executive positions a year ahead.


The outlook was a sombre one, with almost three quarters saying they were preparing their business for challenging times.


Of those asked, 72% believe the year ahead will present difficulties in recruiting senior talent, 14% feel the situation will remain the same as 2018 and 14% believe the market will be easier.


The Autumn Reception was hosted by Chester-based executive search firm Sherrington Associates, featuring keynote speeches from Ian O’Doherty, CEO of Park Group and Katrina Michel of Marketing Cheshire. They discussed the competition for talent as well pinpointing the challenges and opportunities currently facing the region.


While the North West presents an abundance of opportunities and some of the most attractive areas to live and work, the widespread appeal of towns and cities outside of the economic centres of Manchester and Liverpool still proves to be a challenge to employers, in no part impacted by the transport links and lack of business schools for higher education.

Rob McKay, Managing Director of Sherrington Associates, drew parallels to the crash of 2008, where large swathes of senior leaders kept their heads below parapet while economic uncertainty levelled itself out.

“When it comes to attracting and retaining high-performing senior executives in our region, there are always a number of challenges – especially when it comes to bringing people into the area and “selling” the North West as a key area for relocation.


“It was therefore interesting to hear widespread agreement on the challenges of the year ahead. Anecdotally we often hear feedback on the state of the market, however, to have that position verified by almost 75% of a senior decision making audience was striking.   


“There are a number of emerging opportunities in the North West but with uncertain economic conditions and a number of unknowns, it was important we heard from one of the region’s most prevalent executives – Ian O’Doherty – how businesses are having to think differently about how they compete to retain and attract high performing senior executives in their organisations.


“Our region has much to offer and we want to prompt thought and provoke conversation to help the NW business community become more agile and flexible in their recruitment approach and decisions, making the most of highly capable regional talent as well as bringing in that from further afield.”