Who wouldn’t want to be in business in the West Midlands these days? HSBC is moving the 2,500 staff headquarters of its new UK ring-fenced bank to Birmingham. HS2 together with 1,500 jobs is here and the region is set to reap the inward investment windfall of Coventry being named as 2021 UK City of Culture and Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The latter even having the potential to create up to 22,000 jobs, according to one recent report.
It’s all positive; so we hate to sound a discordant note to the prevailing upbeat mood music but it’s not all good news if you are an SME competing for a share of the talent pool dominated by two or three major corporations on your patch. If you’re feeling guilty for an inner grumpiness every time you hear positive West Midlands talk, don’t be!
Jobs growth and investment are of course good news, by definition. There are also great opportunities for SMEs to expand their businesses based on the overall upswing but they need to recognise the fight they have on their hands when it comes to securing the talent needed to deliver and retain those loyal workers who might find themselves tempted by the siren voices and shiny new offices of HSBC and their ilk.
So how can SMEs in the West Midlands meet the challenge of Boomtown Birmingham?