At a recent Jersey business event, the sustainability of the current economic model was questioned, in light of the level of population controls. I presume that Guernsey has a similar debate given their even stricter controls.
Whilst it was great to see 2017 had the highest number of holiday visitors to Jersey since 2001, the primary economy is still dominated by international Financial and Legal Services. In discussions with our CI finance customers, we often hear that one of the biggest barriers to growth is the lack of access to the candidate pool one might be used to in an onshore environment.
Whilst the Channel Islands have many ‘draws’, relocation will certainly not be for everyone. I for one love to visit, but would I want to move my family long term for work? Probably not. Individuals like me, with families, structure, a close network of friends and other business interests in their country of origin, won’t be bothered with the hassle and upheaval of moving – unless the reward for doing so is substantial! However, there are still plenty who would consider migration, though maybe they are attracted by more exotic destinations such as UAE or Singapore?
For the benefit of the Channel Islands, it is right and proper that local businesses look to the island’s residents and ‘wannabe residents’ as their first port of call for new recruits, but the real challenge is:
In the absence of local recruits, how do you attract the right calibre of individuals to live and work in the Channel Islands, even before any consideration of population controls imposed by government?
But what if you didn’t need to? Many businesses do not need their workers to be present in the office and so, with the right Business License and fees duly paid, could remote working be the answer?
100’s of articles, not necessarily specific to the Channel Islands, have been written on the benefits of remote working. secureVirtual are no exception and have written a few of our own. However, all predominantly have the same conclusion – that it is entirely dependent on the business, the type of work needed to be performed, the business’ appetite for supporting remote workers and their ability to integrate them in to the company seamlessly, without creating silos, envy [from office- based colleagues] or other productivity barriers.
If you run a Channel Island business, or any business, and are considering remote working, we would be very happy to have a no obligation chat about the benefits and some key things to watch out for when implementing a remote working policy.
Whilst it may not be the only option (and businesses should definitely be considering emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve productivity and reduce reliance on labour markets) we’re very interested in the views of business leaders in the Channel Islands as to whether they see benefit to the economy and to their businesses by employing remote working as a potential solution; or what the barriers might be?