The year ahead: Mandy Watson, Managing Director of Ambitions Personnel

Each year Lincolnshire Today Magazine invites a select panel of the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years. And, while none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been.

Here we catch up with Mandy Watson, Managing Director of Lincoln-headquartered Ambitions Personnel.

While we enter 2020 with a great deal of optimism and good intentions, we must consider several things that the year might bring.

It sounds obvious, but the impact of Brexit continues to dominate boardroom discussions and it’s often the fact the labour market is just one of the many casualties of any form of economic uncertainty, so it remains to be seen the extent of the impact this might have.

The newly-elected Conservative government gives businesses a degree of ability to be able to preempt how 2020 will play out – but it’s still impossible to measure the impact Brexit and the knock-on effect of these changes will have on employers.

A trend throughout 2019 which we anticipate will only maintain or worsen within 2020 is a struggle to attract talent across the board as the candidate-driven market trend continues.

Different industries are affected in different ways – reduced immigration from EEA countries, which forms an important part of the labour supply chain, has resulted in labour shortages for many industries – such as food production and manufacturing who require unskilled staff, often in high volumes.

Whereas at the senior end of the market, economic uncertainty can see candidates less keen to make a move, placing job security over career progression. This understandable way of looking at things may lead to more employees seeking to progress within organisations where they are already working.

Businesses need to shift focus to attraction over assessment, overhauling their recruitment processes to be more candidate centred and accessible.

It’s necessary for businesses to keep an eye on what their competitors are doing to avoid being left behind when it comes to recruiting. You should really be aware where you are looking for staff, for example, are you expecting them to come to you, or can you go to them? The opportunities that are afforded by social media make this very easy.

Also, how are you looking for staff? Are you still pushing outdated job adverts full of jargon with unnecessary ‘essentials’ or are you offering brilliant perks like flexible working? Elements such as company culture also come into play as much as basic salary these days. Are you standing out amongst your competitors?

If not, why not?