ballot box_imageAs voters go the polls in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, I hope that the outcomes continue to strengthen the current UK government’s over-riding control of the British Isles.  Here in Scotland, we have experienced a great deal of uncertainty due to voting, with the referendum just 20 months ago, today’s Scottish Parliament vote and of course the impending EU referendum next month.

This has all had an effect on UK (and Scottish-based) investment, with the uncertainty stalling or stopping some decisions.   A UK exit from the EU could jeopardise or question the cohesion of the UK, further impacting investment.  Consequently, this makes voting in Scotland even more interesting this time around.

In my view, Scottish Conservatism has been ineffectual for years and Labour has not done enough to improve its appeal to the Scottish electorate, therefore it’s likely that the predicted SNP majority will continue.  I can only hope that as the SNP has historically aided a sensible and steady Conservative UK government that this decision will see the UK in turn vote to remain within the EU.  Having recently started to stabilise from the recession, property and construction markets across the British Isles would certainly benefit from continued stability both politically and economic.  In 2014 the UK construction industry directly employed 21 million people – equating to 6.3% of all UK jobs and contributing £103 billion to the UK economy.  Amongst a volatile and unpredictable global economy, the UK’s current position seems relatively stable and sensible.  Who would want to go backwards, particularly with the backdrop of massive global uncertainty?

Ironically, the lack of international investment has produced fierce competition and demand for greatly talented individuals is high.  The recent RICS Construction Market Survey indicated UK wide increases in workloads, but decreasing number of skilled workers.  At Mackenzie England, we have seen many long term ex-pats looking to return, and relatively few individuals looking to emigrate from these shores.  Around the world, UK honed construction professionals continue to be respected and highly sought after, but there is no longer an “escape to the sun” as international investment criteria is even tighter and projects more commercially driven than ever.  Top-drawer UK construction professionals may well be in higher demand but international projects demand only the very best expertise that the UK can deliver.  This equilibrium between both the competition for and the level of highly skilled staff here and abroad will make it more attractive for a flow of real talent both to and from the UK, with the risk of returning to the UK and securing work now reduced.

The global financial crash taught us all many lessons and we should be stronger and quietly wiser as a result.  In my view, collectively across the British Isles, now more than ever, effective local decisions and business success requires a global perspective.  I hope the voting today aids both this and influences a positive vote to remain within the EU next month!

 

Martin Mackenzie is director of executive search company Mackenzie England.  Based in central Scotland, serving the whole of the UK and working internationally, Martin and business partner Pia pride themselves in being distinctly different; they explore all options to help their clients identify and attract exceptional talent.  They will always be straightforward and honest, providing you with independent advice and guidance.


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