Skills shortages top concern of London bosses

Although four in five companies see London as an attractive place for business, companies worry that London's position will weaken due to Brexit, globalisation and international protectionism. Another worry is skills shortages. What else worries the business community?

Image of the London skyline at night, featuring the Houses of Parliament and London Eye
Attracting and retaining talent is the top policy priority for businesses in London, according to the latest London Business Survey by the Confederation of British Industry.

What does the CBI suggest for UK firms to remain competitive?

Some 45% of the 215 executives in the survey put finding the skills they needed at the top of their business agenda, with over 78% saying they sometimes have insufficient in-house skills and expertise to assess and adopt new technologies.Eddie Curzon, CBI's London director, said, “It’s vital that firms, politicians and City Hall work together to protect and support the diverse skills and talent that abound in the capital and London’s hard-earned reputation as one of the world’s greatest cities for firms to grow and invest in.“Continuing to attract the brightest and best students and workers; improving our infrastructure; delivering affordable places to live; and tackling our contribution to climate change will place London on a sure, stable and secure footing for the future.”

Companies worry that London's position will weaken due to Brexit, globalisation and international protectionism

Overall, the survey found that four in five firms (81%) saw London as an attractive place for business. But the CBI has also found that close to a third of respondents felt there was potential for London’s position to weaken overall, and in specific industries, against the backdrop of globalisation and growing international protectionism.“Despite the continuing Brexit turbulence and uncertainty, we must never forget just how many underlying strengths London has – from our booming and innovative creative technology and financial services sectors to our world-leading universities,” said Mr Curzon.

Technology drives greater efficiency and delivers better products and services

The survey highlighted the importance of technology to the capital’s firms, with 87% of respondents viewing it as driving greater efficiency and 77% believing it delivered better products and services.Aside from being able to hire who they need, 29% of executives rated increasing workplace diversity and inclusion, and ensuring the next generation was 'work ready' as a top priority.

London: business ties with universities

The CBI added, "London’s firms are keen to strengthen their ties with universities, one of the city’s great strengths. Nearly two-thirds of larger companies (over 500 employees) who responded have worked with universities, but less than a third of smaller firms have done so."A university’s expertise in a specific subject or area of research, such as economics, is the principal reason for businesses wanting to collaborate."The CBI survey came a day after a report showing London had overtaken New York for the number of FinTech investment deals so far this year.The report, based on Pitchbook data and released $2 billion was invested in London FinTech. The number of deals totalled 114, ahead of New York's (101). San Francisco was in third place with 80 deals, followed by Beijing (24) and Singapore (23). Nationally, the US remained by far the largest market globally, with $9.37 billion raised so far this year.

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