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Kay Lucker, head of consultancy, ETS
— global HR outsourcer

One big trend is that our clients want to broaden their staff engagement surveys to measure “enablement” and “empowerment”.

In some companies, employees report high levels of engagement, but those companies also have high attrition rates. People can cope with really busy jobs if they are supported and trained properly — that’s what enablement and empowerment mean in this context.

The millennial workforce wants autonomy. That depends on being able to make decisions and be in control. You can’t have an impact if you are not supported, and too much bureaucracy is a frustration that can make people leave an organisation, even if they are highly engaged.

Many companies try to promote talent from within but they still end up buying in people even at the most senior level.

New leaders from outside are not given long to prove themselves any more — as little as six months for some. It’s a bit like football managers. Getting that fit right, and managing how people might feel overlooked, is difficult.

Our clients in insurance and financial services are starting to prepare for transformation after Brexit. Many are moving into Europe, and preparing for a slowdown in the UK economy.

Their UK senior staff are becoming more risk averse, which means they are not moving on. That has a knock-on effect: the people below them can’t get promotion, so they are likely to leave.

Ruairi O’Grady, talent team, Lyst
— global fashion and tech company

All technology companies hiring experts in data science and software engineering are chasing a small pool of highly skilled candidates, and the challenge is to stand out as an employer.

Every time we interview someone, seven or eight other tech companies will be interviewing them too. We have to give them a reason to choose us over the big tech companies, so we emphasise collaboration and the opportunity to work in other parts of the business.

Salaries in data science and engineering globally slowed a little last year but are increasing again — compared to product design, engineering just keeps going up.

We have people from 27 countries working for us, and about 110 are in our London headquarters. We are keeping a careful eye on Brexit, but we are not worried. There is a general feeling that if the UK is to remain competitive globally, it will need to bring in international talent, no matter what the government may try to say externally.

Emma Codd, managing partner for talent, Deloitte UK
— professional services firm

Our big focus this year is apprenticeships. We recruit 300 apprentices in the UK, and they are increasingly popular. Our message is that an apprenticeship is a valuable option, an alternative to university.

Another challenge is keeping up with the rate of technological change globally. We have seen an increase in roles with a digital focus. Deloitte Digital is a division aimed at people with Stem — science, technology, engineering and maths — backgrounds. These are some of the hardest roles to fill. We know we don’t have enough women in these roles.

We are pushing hard on diversity. In our film, Ask Yourself, which has had more than 135,000 views on YouTube, we want to explain that we value individuals who work here, and retain them because we want people to stay with us.

We need to better engage earlier with women who show an interest in working for us. Previously, our recruitment literature was very male, including pictures of men shot-putting. We now use more gender-neutral images and words and are talking to more women on campus.

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