Buy or Build?

I’m hearing this term more and more and it’s now a regular discussion we are having with our clients.

But what does it really mean?

To give context I’ll share my own experience. About two years ago, as a long suffering supporter of my local football team (languishing in the lower leagues), I was stunned to hear that like many professional football teams they had been bought by a billionaire. 

Most supporters, including me, thought great, it’s just a matter of time before the club smash the transfer record and we can watch the new talent roll in. Two years on and they’ve not even come close to breaking the existing transfer record (£375k paid for a player back in 1992) and there are no signs that they will!

It has become clear that their approach to recruitment will be to build not buy, growing talent from the grass roots. Thanks to the new owner, for the first time in years, the club now owns enough land to build a training academy and youth set up which will help them attract a very high standard of raw talent. The owner has been clear that buying in talent and breaking wage and bonus structures is not the plan. With the crazy fees and wages in football most level headed supporters can’t disagree with this philosophy.

Within many industries the talent gap is growing fast and the candidate led market has become stronger than ever. In response organisations are now starting to develop strategies for building not buying. Of course, the apprentice levy is providing greater fuel to the fire as organisations find it so much harder to find talent without breaking salary bands or experiencing a declined offer.

I’ve seen some great examples of how organisations have really embraced the challenges through some fantastic mobility initiatives as well as far reaching early talent programmes and initiatives, helping them to solve the skills gaps as well as boosting their diversity profile and promoting social mobility.

The reality is that there is no quick fix and many have accepted that we are playing the long game for talent.

My local team now has a new moto – “evolution not revolution!” 

By James Chorley, Client Relationship Director.