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Blogs

Check out our blogs section where Chamber representatives, members and high-profile business figures write about a range of topics. If you are a member and want to submit a blog, please click here.

The gender savings gap

By Prithpal Saimbi | Close Brothers Asset Management

Despite the 1970 Equal Pay Act and 2010 Equality Act, women in 2018 still earn about 10% less per hour than men. Policy is changing, driven by years of activism, enlightenment, and regulatory changes such as the April 2018 mandate on gender pay gap reporting, but it is slow. However, the pay gap is the red flag at the tip of the underlying problem which is the effect on women’s financial independence and security now and for their future. The lifetime savings challenge facing everyone in the UK is made harder for women because they earn less and, for those with families, they also have to factor in periods of no/ reduced earnings. HR departments are front and centre of the discussion and it’s...

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Birmingham Economic Review 2018: Key challenges and opportunities for Birmingham

By Rebecca Riley | City-REDI University of Birmingham

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to provide insight on the findings of the Birmingham Economic Review. The Birmingham Economic Review 2018 is produced by the University of Birmingham’s City-REDI and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, with contributions from the West Midlands Growth Company. It is an in-depth exploration of the economy of England’s second city and is a high quality resource for organisations seeking to understand Birmingham to inform research, policy or investment decisions. This post is featured in the full report and report summary here. There are incredible infrastructure developments coming into the city over the coming...

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Digitally transforming the manufacturing workforce

By Andy Coussins | Epicor Software

As digital transformation gains momentum, 87 percent of UK manufacturers say that they are ready to invest in new technologies which will boost productivity. Yet, PwC’s recent Global Digital Operations Study found that UK firms are lagging behind the global average for technology adoption. While there may be a number of reasons for the low digital readiness of the sector, such as lack of clear vision, and fears of uncertainty around Brexit, a growing concern is also the lack of access to relevant skills. Despite the evident importance of skills development, the majority of UK manufacturers do not provide annual formal, accredited training to more than a quarter of their workforce. Yet, challenging...

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Helping manufacturers get Future Fit

By Richard Hill | NatWest

Without a doubt, the manufacturing sector is the living, breathing heart of the UK economy.  UK manufacturing generates 10.3% of UK GDP and over £360 billion of product sales.  With a workforce of 2.7 million employees, 75% of manufacturers are currently targeting growth.  So the UK Manufacturing sector in in a good position, but the vehicle for growth is something to bear in mind.  Manufacturers are dealing with unprecedented change – the Internet, big data, digitisation, artificial intelligence, changing labour demographics.  The robust and continuous evaluation of these core challenges is pivotal for success. Future Fit To this end, we continually seek out the insights of academics, industry...

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Trust - it's what you do that counts, not what you say

By Glenn Caton | Mondelēz International

Organisations with strong reputations are more successful in the long term. It’s that simple. They are trusted, even loved, and they enjoy greater commercial success.  Research from the Reputation Institute, found around 40% of a company’s market performance can be attributed to non-financial factors associated with its corporate reputation. And the cost of getting it wrong is significant in many ways for all stakeholders – not only the impact on consumer brand trust and business results but also critically employee satisfaction; pride; attraction and retention.  A study by Harvard Business Review looked at the relationship between reputation and employee hiring and retention. The study showed...

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Readdressing the gender balance

By Baljinder Kang | Midland Heart

As a large employer in the Midlands region, we have a diverse workforce of around 1,600 people, which reflects the differing demographics of the communities we serve. Being inclusive has always been at the very core of our organisation, as when we embrace our diversity, we attract and retain the right people to provide the best service. Put simply, we want Midland Heart to be a place where anyone can succeed, irrespective of their background or diversity. Diversity is one element of inclusivity; equality is another and we feel we can do more to balance gender representation in areas of our business that, for generations, have been viewed by society as almost exclusively as male or female. For...

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Where Did All The Containers Go?

By Chadd Blunt | Millennium Cargo Services Ltd

Last year I wrote a blog post about the number of containers lost each year. A shocking estimated 10,000 containers go missing each year! But where do they go? Well, it’s hard to say because many of them are never found again. But we do know that a large proportion of them end up on the ocean floor. In June this year 81 containers were lost overboard from the Liberian-flagged YM Efficiency, and a further 62 damaged in the incident caused by severe weather conditions. It was thought they were lost for good, until related debris was spotted off the coast near Newcastle, New South Wales. A full search was launched and 37 of the containers located! The search, funded by the YM Efficiency’s insurer,...

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Want more sales - Time to revisit your strategy

By Alice Mackey | Brookes & Co

In the first of a series of articles, first published by DIY Week, on sales and marketing in the home improvement and DIY industry, Brookes & Co Managing Director, Kate, encourages readers to start over, revisiting what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. Whatever the situation, there’s always a tendency to find the outcome more interesting than how it was achieved. Unless you’re a purist, the score at the final whistle is more important than how the teams got there, the weight of the fish is more exciting than how it was caught; and the sales results are more important than the strategy used to achieve them. It’s the same in marketing. If you have ever worked in an agency,...

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Supreme Court says no to divorce based on weak unreasonable behaviour

By Linda Heyworth | Sydney Mitchell LLP

The Supreme Court judges' decision to prevent a wife from divorcing her husband, which was made 'without enthusiasm', is expected to lead to calls for a rapid change in the law. The case arose after a wife's application for a divorce was opposed by her husband on the basis that the marriage had not irretrievably broken down. Slightly more than 1 in 1,000 divorce applications lead to a contested hearing on that ground. Under the law, there is an automatic right to a divorce only under a limited number of circumstances. These are: *Divorce without consent can take place where the couple have lived apart for five years; *A couple who have lived apart for two years can divorce with the consent...

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If a picture paints a 1,000 words, what do 3D scans offer?

By Kevin Blair | Atmosvr Ltd

First an apology, I'm rubbish at writing Blog posts, I'm a techie, an entrepreneur, a problem solver so creative writing was never my strong point which is why I like pictures, diagrams, powerpoints. I can pretty much guarantee I'll fall asleep or just plain switch off if I have to read more than 1/2 page of A4. Now give me a 3D scan of a building, a venue or a construction site I'll stare and analyze it for hours. The reason is 3D scanning paints a picture. Let me explain, (I can feel the creative writers switching off but please bear with me). The first thing to understand is that a LASER is made up of Particles/Packets/Photons of light (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Essentially...

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