Collaboration was the Theme for Business South's Annual Conference 201421st May 2014
The Business South Annual Conference Speakers
Up to 250 of the region's top business leaders gathered for the Business South Annual Conference.
Collaboration was the theme and keynote speaker Jasmine Birtles illustrated how businesses need to be aware of the changing way the next generation views the world.
The financial writer and broadcaster explained young people do not have the same hunger to buy big ticket items such as cars, instead they are happy to borrow or share.
“As much as anything this is down to economics – they can't afford to buy or run cars but there is also a feeling that they don't need to.
“They are happy to share and spend their money in other ways,” she said.
By far the hardest hitting information was delivered by Geoff Glover, former Head of HR at Ford Southampton and Chairman of the Business South HR Forum.
He got everyone in the room at the Norton Park Hotel, Winchester thinking when he told delegates about the 'baby boomer effect' which will be hitting every employer in the next five years.
“The baby boomer generation born between the 1940s and 60s will soon be having a marked effect on all businesses.
“None of the generations that has followed has been as big and this will lead to higher skills needs.
“For example, in the next few years 90,000 engineers will be leaving the labour market and we only have 20,000 coming in as engineers.
“In the Enterprise M3 region we will have 345,000 baby boomers leaving the labour market by 2020 and in the Solent LEP region I predict there will be 480,000 baby boomers leaving – businesses need to be asking themselves how many baby boomers will be leaving our employment in the next five years?
“The people agenda over the next 5 to 10 years will determine how successful your company is going to be - people are our most valuable asset and our most unpredictable,” he said.
A lively panel discussion on the challenges facing education helping to address the skills gap included Steve Frampton, Principal of Portsmouth College, Professor Les Carr from the University of Southampton and Professor Mike Wilkinson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Southampton Solent University.
IBM is the latest organisation to become a Champion of the Business South region and Robert Tickell, IBM UK's Business Leader said his organisation was keen to build relationships with businesses on the south coast.
While compére Cailean Hargrave, IBM UK's Education Lead, ensured a colourful focus for the day in his eye catching magenta suit.
David Fletcher, Assistant Director for Economic Development at Hampshire County Council explained why the local authority had just signed a three-year partnership agreement with Business South to work collaboratively to support growth and inward investment.
“We see a huge potential from this closer working relationship with Business South,” said David.
Christopher Edgington, Marketing Director for P&O Cruises said each time a cruise ship comes into Southampton it brings an estimated £2.5m boost to the local economy.
“We want to help to ensure some of that comes into your businesses whether as product supply, logistics or the passenger experience.
“At the moment Southampton shore excursions are pretty woeful and there is a huge opportunity there. We need you to help us to give our passengers a great experience – and I would like to hear from local companies,” he said.
Other speakers included Simon Rhodes, Managing Partner at Trethowans LLP, Simon Mewett, CEO of Bournemouth-based C4L and Allan Gordon, Director at Bouygues UK.
Sally Lynskey, CEO of Business South, said: “Our Annual Conference has a special place in the regional business calendar.
“It was gratifying to see so many of the major names in business supporting this conference and we look forward to developing a more sector-focused approach to better meet the needs of Champions.”
The 2014 Business South Annual Conference was sponsored by Bouygues UK, C4L, Capita, Carnival UK, Coffin Mew LLP, Hampshire County Council, Hays Specialist Recruitment, IBM and Mott MacDonald.