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The Northern Powerhouse and what it will mean for recruitment

21/08/2017
Posted by: Helen Watson

George Osborne (remember him?) and the idea of the Northern Powerhouse have been absent from the public eye in recent times. While the former left politics altogether and now holds approximately 47 different jobs, including Editor of the Evening Standard, the latter suffered from the Brexit vote and the ensuing general election and has, until recently, been relegated to the back burner. However, according to recent reports, the Northern Powerhouse is back on track, but what will it mean for recruitment?

Rising optimism

Jim O’Neil, the former Goldman Sachs economist - who quit as Treasury minister last year after a series of disagreements with the government – is now feeling more positive about the prospect of the Northern Powerhouse project actually happening following the departure of two key advisors. He commented that the resignation of Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill removed two significant barriers that had previously held back the development from taking place. “[Theresa May] has lost the two main internal opponents of the Northern Powerhouse…They would not even use the term.” He also insisted there was now ‘sufficient momentum’ from government to press ahead, adding, “It is up to people locally to take that momentum and carry it on.”

But what would the Northern Powerhouse mean for recruitment in the UK?

The development of the Northern Powerhouse would spell good news for firms based in the Northern regions of the country. In a survey we conducted last year, 75% of companies were optimistic about the potential impact of the project with the main reasons cited as improved transportation links between major employment hubs as well as an increase in population, meaning a larger, skilled talent pool for organisations to hire from.

The success of businesses – aside from those that are now employing robots – tends to hinge on the skills and expertise within their workforces. Without access to skilled talent, firms have little chance of being successful, regardless of the strength or willpower of their leadership. However, in recent years many have struggled to attract the potential employees they need to facilitate growth and expansion and instead have faced significant hiring challenges. The introduction of improved links with the rest of the country, and the knock on investment and development that this infrastructure would attract, could bring thousands of professionals to other areas of the UK, removing the current economic mismatch between the North and the South and potentially creating a myriad of jobs across a wide range of industries.

The Powerhouse is still certainly in the concept stage and there is a major amount of work and activity that needs to take place to even get it off the ground. However, if Jim O’Neill’s predictions are correct and it does get closer to being given the green light, firms across the UK, but particularly in the Northern part of the country are likely to benefit.

Businesses in the North specifically are justified in feeling that the region has been neglected in favour of the South in recent years, however the development of the Northern Powerhouse could change all that. It could level the playing field, respread investment across the UK and mean that businesses in areas that had previously struggled to hire, would now have access to much larger talent pools, what’s not to like?

What benefits do you think the Powerhouse could create for northern businesses?

Take a look at some of our other blogs to find out about employment opportunities in the North.

Or take a look at our current jobs to find your next game changing role.

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