Business leaders embrace the future at the CBI National Conference
This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine.
– the must read for HR, global managers and relocation professionals.
Business leaders embracing the future
Carolyn Fairbairn in her speech to the 1500 delegates at the CBI’s National Conference in London, leaving aside Brexit, summarised the key challenges to business as the robotics revolution, the rise of China, climate change, rising inequality and global protectionism. Alluding to mistrust of the business sector, lack of regional parity and uncertainty around Brexit she was keen to emphasise the need to pull together and clearly recognised the importance of global trading now and in the future, which will resonate with Relocate’s readership.“I don’t claim business has all the answers we need. But we do have some that are proven and powerful, and working today,” she said.“Because of business, employment in this country is at a record high; 27 million jobs and counting; four fifths of all UK tax revenue enabled by private enterprise.”She reminded her audience that business has been more resilient than anyone could have imagined during this period of seismic uncertainty, protecting livelihoods across the country.“Business has proven itself time and time again to be an extraordinary force for lasting and positive change,” she said.Referring to what the CBI call ‘Prosperity, Shared,’ she said, “We have a common goal – to build an economy of high-productivity jobs across the whole country. An economy built on science, innovation, rule of law, services and – dare I say it - predictability. That renews our infrastructure and doubles our innovation spend. That creates opportunities for everyone in the next generation, in which every young person has the training and skills to succeed, regardless of background or birthplace.“In short, business and politics agree – we want the UK to be prosperous and fair.”But how will this be achieved? Some of the country’s leading employers shared their views.
- Network, learn from global leaders and develop ideas and solutions to global mobility challenges at our interactive the Festival of Global People 2019 on Tue 14- Wed 15th of May.
LinkedIn making the case for diversity and inclusion
Josh Graff, UK country manager & VP EMEA, LinkedIn spoke out about the importance of diversity and inclusion citing a survey of recruiters where 82% of respondents saw diversity as crucial to boosting financial performance. People are happier, more creative and productive if they are in a culture where they feel they belong, he explained.He highlighted the challenge for employers of how to fill skills gaps and for employees of how to keep up with change. The answer he said was to make a commitment to lifelong learning, to integrate learning into operations and to make learning a priority of the business as a whole.A survey had revealed that 90% of employees would stay if their employer invested in their career development. He highlighted neglected skills areas such as mothers with outdated tech skills and older workers with an interest in becoming more technically aware. He also spoke about the anxiety around tech taking over or eradicating roles and the need to challenge the assumption that AI and coding are the only skills worth having because soft skills are more in demand that ever before.Admitting that engineering and technology had a way to go to increase the proportion of women to 50%, he saw the school system as the starting point to inspire young girls into STEM. He advocated ensuring a 50/50 split in hiring needs and developing programmes for high performance. He felt strongly that young children didn’t have enough visibility into the workplace. This view ties in with Relocate Global’s initiatives to stimulate connections between schools and employers and the specific Relocate Award which acknowledges the importance of such collaborations.
Women as role models
Simon Jack, BBC business editor explored with Liv Garfield, chief executive of Severn Trent what the next generations of future leaders might look like and what it takes to drive businesses forward. Speaking as one of only a handful of chief executives in the FTSE 100 she sets an inspiring path for young women and next generation business leaders to follow. Previously she worked for British Telecom for 12 years and as chief executive of Openreach was responsible for delivering one of the fastest and most ambitious deployments of fibre broadband in the world. Since joining Severn Trent, the midlands-based water and waste company in 2014, profits have risen by 15%. As a British business ambassador for the Department of International Trade she also recognises the importance of global markets and trade. She explained that attracting leaders of the future was about creating a culture that inspires people to be the best they can be because people want to do interesting, novel jobs and also want to be appreciated.“The conversation has moved to be about executive roles, a true executive debate, it’s about inclusion and I don’t think it should be just about gender, it should be age, gender, ethnicity and background and all of that makes a difference,” she explained.“The reason I am so passionate about it, is that how can you possibly expect people to thrive and to do their best if they don’t feel truly welcome.”
On what sort of careers will people want in the future, she reflected that lots of people go around the world.“What you need are lots of good curious people from different backgrounds and different age groups and different experiences all working together in a listening culture.“Create a purpose and direction where people want to follow but they have to be happy to take diversions,” she said and concluded that the role of senior leaders is to create sense of purpose that everyone wants to follow.