A panel of industry experts from the North East’s engineering and manufacturing sector have advised North East business leaders to think long term when hiring to ensure that skilled individuals are attracted to, and stay in, the region.

Speaking on the topic ‘Navigating Growth – Is Your Business Ready for Expansion?’, tips included considering who will be right for your business in three years’ time, rather than looking at the best CV at the time. In the event, hosted by Richard Hogg, Managing Director of Wallsend-based recruitment specialists Jackson Hogg at EMCON 2018, the panel discussed topics including recruitment, resources, the structure of companies, how to add value, and building strategy.

Giving their advice to the attendees were Brian Palmer (Chief Executive of Tharsus), James Ritchie (CEO of Tekmar Group PLC), Elaine Greenwood (UK Light Rail Representative for Stadler Rail UK) and Andy Ramsey (Founder and Managing Director of AR Controls).

Richard Hogg said: “It was fascinating to look at the range of companies from SMEs to large blue chip organisations to see what works in each sector, and what ideas can be transferred from one to the other. A really important suggestion that came up was that businesses need to take a holistic view if they’re going to grow, considering both attracting and retaining the right customers as well as the right staff.

“All of our panellists were very clear that a growing business in the North East needs to consider people who are passionate about the type of work they do, are excellent at their jobs, and have personalities that fit within the company. It’s a tough job, but a fantastic feeling when you get it right.”

Speaking at the event, Brian Palmer said: “Everyone talks about a lack of resource and skill in the region, which isn’t necessarily true, but businesses need to think about how to attract and retain these skilled workers to the region.

“When you’re hiring, you need to think about someone who can grow with the business and has the right personality to work with you. They might not be perfect at the moment they interview with you, but the right person in three years’ time. This kind of forward thinking will better future proof your business that taking on someone who seems to be a good fit short term, but who plans to move on quickly to a bigger opportunity.”