Family businesses feel ‘war for talent’ intensify

Lincolnshire Family Business Forum returns
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The ‘war for talent’ is now more than ever impacting family business, according to the latest Enterprise and European Family Business Barometer 2017.

Undertaken by KPMG Enterprise and European Family Businesses (EFB), the survey found that the ability to attract and retain the skills need throughout their business is now the sector’s top concern.

With some 70,000 family business employers in Yorkshire & the Humber region, this is further evidence that securing skills is a key regional business issue.

More than four in ten of the family business representatives surveyed named recruiting skilled staff as one of their businesses’ major matters, coming ahead of increasing competition (37%) and declining profitability (36%) in second and third place.

The proportion citing the recruitment of talent as a key concern has risen from 37% last year and 33% in 2015.

With almost eight in ten family businesses across the continent employing external directors, representing a steady incline since the Barometer first asked the question in 2015, the issue of attracting skills is increasingly pertinent from the bottom to the very top of family businesses.

“The culture and values that become apparent to employees within many family businesses, once they have joined, means they tend to perform strongly when it comes to retaining talent,” said Ian Beaumont, KPMG’s Head of Enterprise and family business in Yorkshire.

“However, as their appetite to tap into the skills that exist outside of the family gene pool grows, in a high employment economy, their experience of the war for talent intensifies as they compete to attract staff with sought after skills.

“Given the vast majority of the families behind the businesses are committed to maintaining family ownership, and have a potentially wide pool of relatives amongst whom to share dividends, the remuneration packages on offer to attract talent can be more limited than businesses in this regional market with other ownership forms.

“Share schemes and option plans tend to be off the table. So, it’s important that they effectively build and communicate their value proposition as an employer; what it means to be a family business and why it’s a good thing to work for one.

“This might include their commitment to staff and communities, and be demonstrated by tangibles such as higher levels of investment in training and corporate responsibility as well as relatively fewer redundancies during tougher times.

“This is a critical business issue, as without the right skills in a business it will struggle to deliver on its potential and to grow in a competitive market.”

Elizabeth Bagger, Executive Director at the Institute for Family Business, the UK Chapter of the EFB, added: “This latest barometer gives important insights into the challenges family firms are facing and some of the barriers to them achieving their ambitions.

“Despite these challenges it is encouraging to see how many families have plans in place to grow their business, including reinvesting in their business, and exploring new markets.  These findings reflect the dynamic, innovative and ambitious family firms we work with every day.”