Britain Needs Talent

A good friend of mine is an international head hunter. He and I have been friends for several years, and I am always impressed as he travels the world, taking people from one multinational company to another. He has a brilliant lifestyle and earns a large salary. Sometimes I help with his work by suggesting restaurants to which he could take his clients and perspective candidates. I also ensure that he receives a warm welcome, something that I am more than happy to do.

It has long been suggested that London football clubs (such as Chelsea Arsenal and Tottenham) have an easier time signing international and world class players than do the Manchester or Merseyside clubs. The Northern clubs often must pay a premium to beat the London competition. For instance, my own club (Hull City) would likely have to pay 10 to 15 percent more than rivals Crystal Palace would have to pay in order to land the same player. This is likely because the top professional footballers and their families perceive that the lifestyle is better in London than in Hull or Liverpool.

When it comes to attracting talent to a company or a football club, lifestyle plays a huge part. My headhunting friend has often told me stories of top bankers who were reluctant to leave their existing posts in other capital cities. When my friend then shows them around London, he can tell by the excitement on their faces that they are ready to shake on a deal. In the same way, I was once friends with a footballer who was offered 20% more to play for Middlesbrough than he was offered by Reading, but his wife wanted to be close to London so he played for Reading.

Lifestyle businesses play an important part in attracting the right talent to a business or city. As in London’s case, London would not be the financial center of the world without a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene. London can also boast brilliant fitness facilities, hair and beauty, culture and entertainment, and fashion. These lifestyle businesses are vital in helping JP Morgan and the like attract their top executives, or helping Chelsea sign their new center forward.

In the same way, when a company is looking for a new development or premises they too must look at the city proposed for the site and ask the question, ‘will the people that I am looking to attract from other businesses and cities be happy to live here? Or will I have to pay them a whole lot more to compensate for the lack of lifestyle?’

Of course, HR managers and recruiters certainly know this. My concern is that the commercial property owners and investors also need to understand the importance of location and lifestyle. We need to find a way to keep creating economically viable environments that will encourage Lifestyle Business entrepreneurs to take the plunge. We need them to keep opening businesses for our existing top lifestyle businesses to thrive and expand.

The increasing rent and difficult terms and conditions are making it very difficult for the independents and excellence to thrive. We are seeing more and more spaces get filled with a Pret a Manager or Starbucks. Now, as much as I enjoy Starbucks, it is never going to attract international businesses talent to a city, or a ’20 goal a season’ man to the football club. London (and many other British cities) needs both.

Jason Gale

Creator and C.E.O of the Lifestyle Awards®