According to the CBI’s latest report, confidence is growing in the business and professional services sector. With optimism in the market at its fastest pace for more than 15 years, there are many reasons to be upbeat.

However, the buoyancy of the sector comes at a cost for some employers, who are facing challenges posed by skills shortages, which are all the more visible when addressing growth strategies.

While major firms invest a great deal of time on annual graduate recruitment drives, there is work to do to ensure retention levels, particularly with increased market competition.

Commenting on this, Wayne Brophy, managing director of specialist procurement, buying, supply chain and logistics recruitment company, Cast UK, said: “There is more emphasis on a ‘total reward’ approach nowadays, in the wake of an unsettled financial period where firms have not been able to commit to salary increases. The drive to offer attractive benefits is critical and these need to be clearly communicated to employees.”

Described in a Government report into sector skills insights as “the oil in the cogs of the overall machine that is the UK economy” there is no doubting the importance of business and professional services as a sector. However, to achieve the growth that is predicted, businesses will need to adapt to change and re-evaluate team models in many cases.

Wayne added: “We work with firms to map out their skills requirements by analysing the market and identifying the impact of major factors such as increased global competition and technological advances. Only by taking these considerations on board can businesses really be geared for growth.”