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Business News Panellists (from left): Joanna Birch, Raj Kandola, Judy Grove, Paul Faulkner and Saira Demmer


Region is still enjoying growth By Jessica Brookes


Chief executive of SF Recruitment Saira Demmer told business leaders that employment trends are changing and there is increased demand for work in Greater Birmingham. She was speaking at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s (GBCC) Quarterly Business Report (QBR) briefing for Q1 of 2019. Mrs Demmer spoke alongside


Judy Groves, marketing director at the Rigby Group, Paul Faulkner, chief executive at the GBCC, Joanna Birch, director of innovation enterprise employability and business engagement at Birmingham City University, and Raj Kandola, policy and patron adviser at the GBCC. Mr Kandola gave attendees an


overview of the Chamber’s most recent report in which most businesses reported that Brexit was their principle concern alongside other factors such as costs, price


increases, uncertainty and competition. Mr Kandola said: “Looking at


those other factors, they are all underpinned and magnified by Brexit, they are all interlinked too. “The advice we give to our members is focus on what you can control. If there is any practical advice that businesses would like, the Chamber has a number of resources, including our Business Brexit Health Check and our regular Brexit clinics.” The QBR results also showed that


there was a rise in the percentage of firms reporting a decrease in domestic sales, domestic orders, export sales, export orders, cash flow, investment and profitability. Mr Kandola said: “Price pressures


are still very high and it is clear that a number of firms just aren’t ready for various Brexit scenarios, which is very concerning to see. “But, we should also point out


that the majority of firms remain in positive territory for most indicators. “The majority of indicators are


‘It is clear that a number of firms just aren’t ready for various Brexit scenarios’


still growing, and that is testament to the resolute nature of the business community in Greater Birmingham but it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next six months.” Mrs Demmer spoke about what


SF Recruitment, a specialist recruiter that has become a Chamber patron, was seeing in terms of recruitment trends in the region. She said that the growth rate for


employment is three per cent in West Midlands – outpacing the North West, East Midlands, South West and London. Salaries in the region were also growing, at 2.3 per cent. Mrs Demmer said: “The increased


demand for people is the result of infrastructure projects, such as HS2, and of course means that those


who are available are in scarcer supply. They can command a higher price because they are more sought after. “Clients are still recruiting and


hiring, but they are raising their bar a little bit more. Someone that may just cut the mustard in the past just isn’t good enough anymore and businesses want to make investments in people who they are confident are going to add value to their business, and those people typically demand a higher price.” Mrs Demmer also said that


businesses are working more to retain their staff and are increasingly focused on brand, reputation and company culture and added: “Candidates feel like they have more options and are much pickier, businesses are recognising that, and putting much more money into retaining their people because they see them as valuable assets.”


• The value of Chamber events – see page 47


Legal IT experts join suppliers’ network


Baskerville Drummond have become one of the founding suppliers of Calico Legal Solutions Group. Calico is a collaboration of established and


Adding value: Kevin Goosman


24 CHAMBERLINK May 2019


trusted suppliers to over 4,000 legal firms from high street to regional and national law firms. Calico members cover a wide range of services such as finance, insurance, marketing, business and IT consulting and more. Baskerville Drummond is a leading independent legal IT consultancy who specialise in advising law firms and legal technology solution providers. Kevin Goosman, a consultant at Baskerville Drummond Consulting Ltd, said: “Calico’s purpose is to be ‘The Essential Resource for Law Firms’ by providing thought-leadership


articles and access to a group of reputable and trusted suppliers. “This focus on adding value via collaborative


creation of thought-leadership articles and topics was really important to us when we considered joining the group. “Our membership as founding members also


means we meet regularly with the other Calico members and as a result have a strong knowledge of their products and services. This expands our capabilities as a trusted advisor to law firms and expands our knowledge of what other law firms are currently doing.” The Calico group publishes several articles a


week and the website is already a rich source of knowledge-led content from the various Calico suppliers.


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