Oxfordshire must take a more holistic approach to recruitment or lose the best workers to other regions

• Would-be workers are told about the job but not enough about Oxfordshire
• Survey finds most employers in Oxfordshire think recruitment agencies could do better
• Oxfordshire failing to provide enough affordable housing and facilities to attract workers
• Recruiting and keeping staff is often a struggle in Oxfordshire
• Huge potential need to be harnessed better with joined-up thinking

Businesses and recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire aren’t doing enough to attract the best, much needed, new employees to the region.

Employers need to be more creative and sell the advantages of a living in Oxfordshire alongside the benefits and opportunities of the actual job.

That’s according to the latest survey by Oxfordshire Voice (www.oxvoice.co.uk).

The poll of four hundred businesses, local government organisations and employees in Oxfordshire found more than seventy percent felt the way jobs were advertised by firms and recruitment agencies was too limited.

The findings of the survey were backed-up by an Oxfordshire Voice (OV) discussion forum held in the at Pembroke College. The survey formed the agenda for the forum.

“The feedback from the survey and the resounding voice of the forum are both very clear: Oxfordshire is selling itself short and not doing enough joined-up thinking to attract much needed skilled workers,” says Simon Howson-Green, who co-chaired the Q&A session on behalf of OV.

Oxfordshire is home to more than 30,000 VAT registered businesses of all shapes and sizes. The survey also found that more than half of employers in the area often struggled to fill vacancies and hold on to their staff.

The challenges posed by the lack of affordable housing was one of the key factors blamed for recruitment problems in the county. The forum heard from a number of contributors who said that although the City of Oxford had so much in its favour it was struggling to promote itself as an attractive and vibrant place to live and work due to the significant housing affordability gap.

Armed with the survey results and the open and frank discussion the OV Forum members voted to adopt four outcomes which will form part of the Oxfordshire Voice business plan for change. These included working alongside a range of organisations to offer a more flexible working environment and more comprehensive and affordable housing schemes.

The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is a member of Oxfordshire Voice and ahead of further events being annouced, it is encouraging more businesses to sign up and take part in debates. Communications Manager, Rob Panting says, “Through Oxfordshire Voice, our business community is able to collectively give their views and opinions on a number of key themes critical to our county’s economy.

“Not only are we currently one of just three net county areas that contribute to the exchequer – with a GVA of £23bn a year – but we have genuine global assets that are growing from strength-to-strength.

“With this in mind, having an engaged business community is vitally-important and we would urge even more businesses to take part in Oxfordshire Voice events.”

“As employers, we must focus on attracting and retaining talent to the County through promoting what Oxfordshire has to offer,” says Jonna Mundy of You HR, also an Oxfordshire Voice Partner “We need to put the County more on the map as being a preferable place to work and turn the recruitment issues experienced on their head. Oxfordshire Voice is really gaining momentum to achieve its vision, being part of this forum gives you a real business buzz!”

Note to editors

About Oxfordshire Voice:
Oxfordshire Voice is a public and private sector collaboration which aims to provide solutions to the key challenges stifling economic development in Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire Voice was set up and is managed by B4, Oxfordshire’s leading business community. For further information about OV see: issuu.com/b4-business/docs/b4_voice_a4

The survey debated at this forum was sent to over 500 business people in the B4 community and was sent out via email on survey monkey. Other Q&A’s are available on request.

More about the Pembroke College forum:
See also link below to pictures from the Pembroke College forum: flic.kr/s/aHsmr4sJ1A

Oxfordshire Voice partners include the following:

Future Oxfordshire Voice events:
Future Oxfordshire Voices events are open to OV partners only. To become an Oxfordshire Voice Partner please contact 01865 742211 or email info@oxvoice.co.uk.

The formal launch of Oxfordshire Voice will take place at The Blavatnik School of Government on Thursday 17th January. The next OV forum will take place at Blenheim Palace on Thursday 31st January.

Attendees at the forum including representatives from the following:

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