During our first year in business we’ve met a lot of companies in the Exeter, Devon, and South West region –and despite their diverse outlooks on business and growth – there’s at least one thing they all have in common – they all struggle to recruit the right talent to suit their businesses’ needs.   Whether it be the draw of the bright lights of London or a lack of confidence in the job market, often these businesses fail to find the versatile, hardworking and committed people that will get stuck in and help them succeed.

As a PR and communications agency, we have also had difficulty finding the ‘right’ person, often meeting people who are over-skilled with unrealistic expectations or people who struggle to be self-motivated, which as I’m sure other owners of smaller businesses will understand, is an absolute prerequisite.

I think there’s an obvious reason for this. A lot of those people who oversee recruitment are either ex-London ex-corporate workers or dare I say it, slightly stuck in their ways, and still, have fairly traditional views of how an ‘office’ should be run and resourced – i.e. 9 till 5, five days a week, 20 odd days holiday.

What if these traditional parameters didn’t exist? What if we look at an employee’s contribution to a business in terms of the goals we are trying to reach, rather than the time they spent in the office? What would the ideal candidate look like then?

When I speak to my parent friends, who have often relocated to the West Country to regain some much sought after work/life balance, they are often hugely frustrated that they are not using their education, experience, and darn right ‘savvy’ in their part-time or freelance jobs (that’s if they can find a job given the limitations of childcare).

So hang on… we have a number of businesses in the area who are in need of well-educated and committed staff… and a bunch of people whose only fault is they can only be in the office between school runs, perhaps three days a week?  Surely there’s some way to marry these two parties up?

Don’t get me wrong, I know this slightly idyllic scenario would be impossible for some businesses – those who need particular technical skills, or whose clients need staff in the office at all hours. However, for many companies, a simple re-evaluation of what time and resource commitment they need in the week (especially given our growing ability to work from home and out of hours) could mean that those parents you see at the school gates are the very answer to your commercial prayers.

That’s what Five Zero, my PR agency is hoping. We are currently speaking to Mumsnet and a couple of other parent networks about publicising some upcoming positions. So if you are interested, feel free to get in touch.