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Last Breakfast News of 2022 revisits the skills agenda

15 / 12 / 2022Gemma Woods

Recruiting for skills has always been important, but in 2022 we are at a turning-point.

As employers build talent pipelines at a time of macro change, leveraging skills-based attraction, hiring and development has never been more critical.

Globally, companies and authorities are leading skills initiatives as a means to resolve upcoming labour shortages. For example, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) is working to identify the essential employer skills needed for work by 2035. This renewed focus on skills comes from a realisation that without action to help those entering the workforce develop the right future skills, the consequences on unemployment and economic growth will be significant.

To address these issues, GTI hosted its last Breakfast News of the year yesterday, in partnership with Blackbridge Communications, on why the skills agenda is more important than ever.

The morning started with economics expert, Declan Curry, explaining why there’s reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the economy even in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and imminent recession.

The ISE’s Stephen Isherwood explored the changing demographic of our population, especially over the last 30 years, with fewer young people, as a percentage of the workforce, entering work than ever before. Stephen presented data which showed the skills employers are looking for now and in the future which he summarised as:


 …who can work with and get things done with other people,

…with the practical intelligence to think through problems clearly and deliver solutions,

…with a keen interest in their chosen industry/career,

…with the resilience to do difficult, sometimes dull, work in challenging, changing circumstances

GTI Cibyl’s Head of Research, Lisa Marris, used survey data to explore the mismatch between the skills employers want and the skills students think they have. For example, communication is a top strength according to students, but employers say business-appropriate communication is the 8th least possessed skill in graduates.

Blackbridge’s Mike Hanbidge discussed the increase in skills-based hiring and how, by focusing on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’, we can improve productivity, innovation, culture and, ultimately, the commercial bottom line.

Finally serial entrepreneur Jo Fairley shared her story of how she built Green & Black’s from a startup to a multi-million pound brand, and the skills needed for success. Jo offered 10 bars of Green & Black’s for the best question from our online audience, which went to Sarah Warnes at Cooley for asking “what was the most surprising skill you found you needed in someone you hired, but didn't know before you hired them”.

If you would like to view the slides from the session please click here.

Thank you to all who’ve supported Breakfast News this year, we look forward to bringing you a fresh new programme in 2023!



GTI's Breakfast News is one of the UK’s leading early careers industry network events – bringing together early talent recruiters, recruitment marketing agencies and universities to discuss the most topical and relevant issues facing the sector

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