Politics

North West business leaders reveal their predictions for 2022

Some of the top business leaders from across the North West have gazed into their crystal balls and revealed their predictions for 2022.

BusinessLive asked leaders from a variety of sectors across the region how they see the next year panning out.

It has been a fairly unpredictable year again and it is fairly likely that 2022 will serve up much of the same.

Here is what 12 of those who responded told us:

Carl Ennis – chief executive of Siemens GB and chair of Net Zero North West



Carl Ennis, chief executive of Siemens GB and chair of Net Zero North West
Carl Ennis, chief executive of Siemens GB and chair of Net Zero North West

“After such a strong spotlight on climate change, we need to ensure a strong legacy from COP26 in 2022.

“Gone is the time for rhetoric and ‘blah blah blah’ we need to show how we’re already delivering.

“Businesses in the North West have faced a challenging year with increasing energy prices so the need for a resilient net zero energy system has never been more vital.

“This isn’t just about decarbonising the industries that make our region thrive, from manufacturing to chemicals, it’s about protecting and growing high value jobs.

“Our big industries are already stepping up. We know what needs to happen and next year will see the North West finalise its Cluster Plan, which will bring together in more detail than ever before a coherent path to decarbonisation.

“A key part of this is ensuring that we have the right skills in place so we’re also working on a skills plan to ensure that the 660,000 green jobs we predict are needed to reach Net Zero are kept in the North West.”



Email newsletters

BusinessLive is your home for business news from around the North West- and you can stay in touch with all the latest news from Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria through our email alerts.

You can sign up to receive daily morning news bulletins from every region we cover and to weekly email bulletins covering key economic sectors from manufacturing to technology and enterprise. And we’ll send out breaking news alerts for any stories we think you can’t miss.

Visit our email preference centre to sign up to all the latest news from BusinessLive.

LinkedIn

For all the latest stories, views, polls and more – and the news as it breaks – follow our BusinessLive North West LinkedIn page here.

Helen Watson, head of employment law at Aaron & Partners



Helen Watson, head of employment law at Aaron & Partners
Helen Watson, head of employment law at Aaron & Partners

“Undoubtedly one of the trends concerning most business leaders in the present climate is staff retention. There is an incredible amount of movement in the marketplace in all industries, so keeping the best talent is something at the top of all business leader’s current ‘to do’ list.

“How can we do it though, with new agile working presenting opportunity for employees to take jobs hundreds of miles away on salaries twice the size.

“Staff retention in 2022 will need to be about properly engaging with staff and rewarding and including them in the direction of the business (at all levels).

“Making the working environment flexible and supporting with training and development opportunities will be key to get the very best from employees and allow them to grow and benefit from this new style of work/life balance, presented to us as a result of the pandemic.

“Recruitment into specific roles is likely to be far easier strangely enough and we are already seeing signs of this. Where recruitment is coming unstuck though is as a result of Brexit combined with Covid as many employees of other nationalities and ethnic backgrounds have left employment in the UK to find work elsewhere.

“From speaking to experienced recruitment agencies, it is clear that there are not enough people to fill current vacancies, which presents an issue.

“So, whereas there is a confidence you could now head hunt to fill a specific role and face less resistance to change and movement, the issue now appears to be based on the volume of vacancies and a lack of UK-based people to fill them.”

Professor Joe Howe – chair of the NWHA and executive director, Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester



Professor Joe Howe - chair of the NWHA and executive director, Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester
Professor Joe Howe – chair of the NWHA and executive director, Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester

“2022 will be the year that the North West really cements itself as the home of hydrogen.

“With HyNet securing Government backing as one of the UK’s first carbon capture clusters we’ll start to see even more happening on the ground.

“So far the focus has largely been on how hydrogen can support industries to decarbonise, yet the potential for hydrogen to drive Net Zero across the whole energy system shouldn’t be underestimated. It can also play a role in cutting emissions from transport, whether trains or HGVs, and can provide a low carbon source of heating for homes.

“The North West is bidding to become the home of the UK’s first hydrogen village which will quite literally bring hydrogen into people’s homes.

“As well as delivering the necessary infrastructure and proving the science, we also need public understanding and acceptance.

“We need to have an open discussion about the benefits and cost of hydrogen in the Net Zero future and I think 2022 will be the year that this debate really enters the public arena.

“A big part of our progress in the next year will be readying the supply chain and equipping our workforces with the skills needed to make our region a first mover on hydrogen.”

Mark Connor – chief executive of Vermont



Mark Colton, Mark Connor and Chris Gallagher or Vermont

“As a business in the construction sector, we predict we’ll continue to have steady demand for well-located residential schemes in the North West from funders and operators in 2022 – the market seems to be fairly robust and the demand is there.

“I think the challenges all businesses faced in 2021 was the lack of certainty around supply chain and the various challenges it’s posed – whether that’s costs or delivery timeframes.

“We expect those issues will start to work themselves out as we move into 2022 as businesses have learnt to adjust.

“For example, now we know we’re facing longer lead times, we’re providing longer lead times for our supply chain to secure materials, so we have navigated the issues relatively successfully.

“There’s not much more that can be thrown at businesses given Brexit and the pandemic, so I’m hopeful that any global issues around supply chain will stabilise next year.”

John Downes – chief executive of Langtree and chairman of Sci-Tech Daresbury



Langtree group chief executive, John Downes

“I am confident that innovative science and technology companies across the North West will become even more important during 2022 and will play a key role in driving forward the UK’s economic recovery through wealth generation, job creation and attracting international investment.

“Our own ongoing investment into our campus reflects our dedication to ensuring our region becomes the number one choice for innovative businesses looking for a new home, and making sure those already based in the North West can realise their ambitions without moving further afield.

“This is being supported through our cluster model. Last month we launched the new Daresbury Digital Tech Cluster – set to create 1,000 jobs – and our HealthTech cluster has allowed our companies to work closely together in order to develop products and services that will support health and wellbeing for decades to come.

“2022 also will see The Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) at our campus – announced this year and supported by £172m funding from the government and an in-kind contribution of £38m from IBM Research – become fundamental to supporting the UK’s efforts in the technologies of the future such as quantum computing.

“The North West has suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, but the ecosystem we have built – from innovative environments such as Sci-Tech Daresbury to our world leading universities – means we are in a brilliant position to take charge of our own destiny in building back from the pandemic, creating the dynamic, economically fairer country we all want.

“However, targeted support from the government is still required. While investments in developments such as the HNCDI are a welcome start, we await the recommendations in next month’s Levelling Up White Paper with great interest.”

Claire Alvarez – partner, Foresight Group



Claire Alvarez of Foresight Group
Claire Alvarez of Foresight Group

“As a passionate advocate and investor in SMEs across the UK, we’d love to see 2022 provide ambitious SMES, in all sectors, the ability to achieve sustainable growth. Not only will this contribute to job creation but will support in improving social outcomes across our region – from Manchester to Morecambe.

“I hope that 2022 will see more work being done to increase diversity and inclusion within private equity.

“While tangible progress has been made in recent years, there is an increasing – and much needed – momentum behind making the industry as welcoming as possible to people from all strands of society. I personally will do my utmost to ensure the industry is built on a culture of inclusion where all employees have opportunity and can thrive.”

Chris Long – director of Liverpool architects KKA



Kasia Borkowska and Chris Long, now the owners of Liverpool firm KKA

“2021 in the architecture industry has seen the dawn of lifestyle hospitality. It is a product of multiple national lockdowns in the UK, and people’s preferences adjusting in what they want to get from the spaces they spend time in.

“We are seeing more clients shaping places that people want to inhabit whilst combining work, health, and leisure.

“As we look forward into 2022, people’s preferences in how they work, socialise, and relax continue to align with the benefits of lifestyle hospitality.

“For example, the health and wellness industry continues to boom, with gyms, yoga studios and relaxation spaces becoming a part of everyday life.

“People are continuing to establish themselves in remote or co-working spaces, and when relaxing or traveling, people are favouring hybrid hotels that specialise in work, sport, or leisure facilities. The lifestyle hospitality trend shows no sign of slowing down.”

Kevin Lambert – GC Business Growth Hub sustainability and net zero lead



Kevin Lambert - GC Business Growth Hub sustainability and net zero lead
Kevin Lambert – GC Business Growth Hub sustainability and net zero lead

“We can expect more and more businesses to make new pledges and strengthen existing commitments to drive towards net zero next year.

“It is likely that the government will use its own purchasing power to drive further net zero commitments through its suppliers.

“We have already seen this in 2021 with the adoption of Procurement Policy Note 06/21. Now suppliers bidding for major government contracts need to show commitment to achieving net zero by 2050 and have a carbon reduction plan in place.

“It’s possible that the £5m threshold that is a key part of this framework, could be tightened or adapted to lower value contracts for local authorities and other public procurement bodies.

“Businesses will also be increasingly looking to tackle their scope three emissions – those that occur indirectly due to a company’s activities outside of the assets that it controls and owns.

“This will lead to opportunities for environmentally aware organisations in the supply chain that are forward thinking to secure their place as key suppliers and potentially increase sales.

“The flip side being if you are not in a position to provide necessary environmental data you may be delisted as a supplier.

“In terms of transport, we’ll see further significant changes in company car fleets as more businesses look to switch to low emission and electric vehicles. There will likely be a growing uptake in salary sacrifice for employees wishing to lease electric vehicles.

“We could also see stronger engagement with landlords over the next 12 months as their engagement in the UK’s commitment to reach net zero becomes more crucial.

“We expect financial institutions will ramp up their drive to shift their portfolios away from sectors and those businesses making a significantly negative contribution to climate change, as well as those that have yet to take account of their impacts on the climate.”

Michelle Leeson, managing director of GC Employment



Michelle Leeson, managing director of GC Employment
Michelle Leeson, managing director of GC Employment

“In post-pandemic recruitment, the ability to sell yourself as a business will become paramount.

“Now that many more employers are offering flexible and home working, this has opened up the number and type of vacancies available to people, as they are not restricted to employers based in their local areas.

“Securing top talent in a candidate-driven market is difficult and company reputation will be key in hiring.

“Professionals will have more choices about who to work for and under what circumstances – the most successful companies will have purpose and a positive social impact as a corporate organisation.

“When it comes to company culture, a physical workplace will be less important than before, meaning that firms can no longer rely on a stocked pantry or a ping pong table to replace the cultivation of a clear culture and lasting values within an organisation.

“Now is the time for companies to focus on company culture and to define the values under which they operate.

“It’s also worth remembering that the pandemic will have made the job-seeking process even harder for some candidates.

“For those that were struggling to find work before the pandemic or who have spent a significant amount of time on furlough, the pandemic will have made the job-seeking process even harder.

“Confidence, social isolation, mental health issues and a gap in work history will all add to this challenge.

“Employers with skills shortages should consider different methods to attract this pool of potential talent, such as offering work experience, pre-employment routeways or utilising schemes such as Kickstart.”

Dr Annette Bramley, director of the N8 Research Partnership



Annette Bramley of the N8 Research Partnership

The organisation is a collaboration between the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York.

She said: “2022 will be the year that investment in green infrastructure in our region is backed up by new funding for the training programmes that are needed for the job opportunities in environmentally friendly industries.

“Recent investments that have been made by businesses and the UK Government – such as the UK’s first research, development and testing centre for hydrogen transport, which will be located on Teesside – mean we’re already starting to see recognition that the north is the best location for large scale projects that will propel the UK’s green economy in the journey to net zero.

“To make the most of these investments we need long term expansion in lifelong learning and skills for the new technologies and approaches.

“The new economic environment and the transition to net-zero offers huge opportunities for individuals, firms and the region, and we need people with the right capabilities right here to be able to deliver and to come up with new and better low Carbon solutions.

“There is no longer time to waste – 2022 must be the year the progress made on infrastructure investment is matched by the same commitment to green skills and innovation. The N8 will support this through Net Zero North (NzN), which will see universities, FE colleges and employers work together to re/up-skill workers into well paid, high quality jobs in new and transformed businesses.”

Debra Cooper, co-head of the Shoosmiths Manchester office



“With the downgrade of Northern Powerhouse Rail this autumn many in our region feel the Government’s levelling up agenda has literally hit the buffers, so we’d love to see some tangible regional investments that will encourage further confidence, inward investment and jobs in 2022.

“We know Manchester is a brilliant, diverse and thriving city and we would love to see more local and collaborative efforts to encourage social mobility and opportunities for all, which is something that is really personally important to us and the wider firm.”

Neil Murray, chief executive of Liverpool-based Impact Data Metrics

“The Government has set its stall out to level-up the economy and, given where we are in the electoral cycle, 2022 will have to be a year of action, delivery and meaningful progress if Boris’ ‘Blue Wall’ is not going to come crashing down at the next election.

“I would hope to see the new Department for Levelling Up under Michael Gove take a data-led approach to its interventions and policies as this will underline the context of the opportunities and allow them to prioritise where investment will generate the biggest impacts.

“I believe we will see reform of LEPs – which have a patchy record of delivery – and are being overtaken by the metro-mayors in the North taking centre stage in terms of economic strategy and delivery.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

close