The Managing Director of Cumbria’s Chamber of Commerce has offered assistance as companies struggle to retain staff members.

According to new research from The Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics and Political Science, one in five businesses are having issues retaining existing staff, as employees look for new opportunities elsewhere. Experts said the data suggests the Government must do more to encourage firms to invest in training workers, through tax credits and changes to the apprenticeship levy scheme.

Discussing the news, Suzanne Caldwell said: “Businesses in every sector are telling us that they’re really struggling to recruit staff. That’s at all levels and in a whole range of jobs – cleaners, lawyers, production operatives, drivers, marketeers, chefs, accountants, bar staff and more. Retention is often also a challenge as businesses fight for staff. This is of huge concern and putting a constraint on business growth plans.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to recruit and there are some things you can do that can help. It does seem to be the case that people are increasingly looking for things like flexible working and real job satisfaction and are keener to work for businesses they see are actively pursuing the green agenda and/or making a positive difference in other ways. Having clear career opportunities and training & development opportunities can also help.”

When asked if there are any reasons why it’s difficult for companies in the area, Suzanne continued: “For a number of businesses in Cumbria the challenge is increased because of their location and they’ve introduced or are exploring ways to provide transport for staff.

“It’s also worth exploring options such as engaging actively with the Job Centres around engaging with unemployed people and support for people with disabilities and long-term health programmes and signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant and linking into their specialist recruitment service. It can also be fruitful to contact universities and link into their job promotion opportunities, and to engage with local colleges. A growing number of employers are successfully employing ex-offenders. And there’s a range of other options.

“There is help and advice available, often free of charge. I’d encourage businesses throughout the county to contact the Chamber or the Growth Hub on”