The Experts: Bev White on Skills Development

Bev White

Chief Executive Officer, Harvey Nash

Bev is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Harvey Nash. Previously, Bev was the CEO at Gi Group and her responsibilities included temporary and permanent recruitment across a UK wide network of branches and onsite managed client operations, professional search and selection, coaching, career development career transition and training.  

Welcome to our video series, The Experts. In the series, we interview staffing and recruitment leaders to hear their perspectives on industry trends, lessons they’ve learned in the careers, and their leadership philosophies.

In this clip, Bev White, CEO of Gi Group UK, discusses her company’s approach to combat the global candidate skills shortage.



What’s a major trend Gi Group UK is responding to in 2019?

Bev White: I think we’re looking at the 4.2 percent unemployed population and segmenting it much more. I’m looking to see how we can create the right conditions to bring them into the workplace, so moms, carers, people who really need to have flexibility in their working day, if they are to be able to do that. So we work with employers to hopefully change shifts, shift patterns, so that they can get moms and carers to turn up and do something at a time that suits them.


How is Gi Group UK combating the candidate skills shortage?

Bev White: So when I first came into this back in January last year, for the previous 14 years or so, I’d be working very heavily in career development – coaching, helping people think about their next step when they’ve moved on from their last job. And I think actually it really enabled me to bring some new ideas. As a business, we can offer not just openings for jobs but we can actually offer training. We can offer careers, advice, and we can keep doing that as people progress from role to role.


What are some strategies Gi Group is leveraging to upskill?

Bev White: So with the apprenticeship Levy, we’re an offset accredited provider, so we have had over 3,000 apprenticeships and I think that’s a really great thing to be doing. Helping young people or people later in life to switch careers, create their first career. You know, they’re really bright talent for the organizations that we hopefully place them in.


What kind of value does an apprenticeship offer?

Bev White: We have a lot of great, untapped potential in young people who go that route and go through an apprenticeship. They are really interested in developing skills. They’re interested in understanding how they can fit into the workplace and they are really very bright, enthusiastic, and really want to get involved in the business as a whole. I think for organizations to really understand that and give themselves the opportunity to get perhaps a completely different talent pool and I think they get really excited about it once they understand that.


How does Gi Group promote the movement of talent globally?

Bev White: Well, until recently, of course, we know that there was a more open supply of people wanting to come to the UK perhaps from Eastern Europe, in particular. It was a very attractive place to be and of course, with the uncertainty of Brexit, that slowed down enormously. So it’s really encouraged us to look more closely at programs where we can work with other countries and work with the authorities, the British government, to see how we can open the borders and bring them across into the UK. So IT would be a skill set, for example, that is in a massive short supply across all of Europe, if we think about it more parochially. So we’re actively seeking to do as much as that as possible and as I said earlier on, really looking at our home pool of people and seeing how we can grow their skills and give them perhaps another place to go with those skills.

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