Howarths and University of Huddersfield partner on HR research to futureproof region’s businesses

Published 6th Aug 2018 by Shaida Khan

A Cleckheaton HR and employment law firm has partnered with the University of Huddersfield to deliver a research project designed to help Yorkshire’s businesses remain attractive to new graduates and prevent the so-called “brain drain” of future HR talent to London and the South.

Howarths People and Safety Management is working with the university to help engage Yorkshire SMEs in a Europe-wide study into the impact of human resource management on small to medium sized firms.

Gavin Howarth, managing director at Howarths, said:

“SMEs form the back-bone of the UK economy, and provide exciting, varied and well-balanced job opportunities across the market.

“However, too much of HR learning is focused around the practices of corporate giants like Apple, Google and Netflix. As a result, graduates entering the HR job arena can have a skewed view of the market place, missing a crucial understanding of how HR operates in a small or medium size business.

“It is therefore crucial that our next generation of HR leaders are prepared for the reality of what the HR landscape in SMEs can look like.”

He continued:

“We will be utilising our extensive network of SMEs across Yorkshire to help the University of Huddersfield engage as many businesses as possible to take part in this piece of research and share their views and experiences on HR best practice.

“The findings will help support HR learning both within the university and in businesses across Yorkshire, to ensure our region continues to attract and retain talent to support the local economy.”

Julie Davies, HR subject group leader at the University of Huddersfield, added:

“Despite what many may think, most school leavers and new graduates start their careers working for SMEs, not corporate giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

“SMEs often offer a much friendlier environment and more rounded job opportunities than larger firms where jobs may be very specialised. The quality of working life with cleaner air and less stressful commuting is also a major benefit when you compare SMEs in the Yorkshire region with the likes of London and the South.

“An important challenge, therefore, is to develop the employer value proposition of these businesses, in order to attract and retain talent and reverse the ‘brain drain’ of graduates to London and the South.”

She continued:

“In addition, current and post-Brexit challenges of social inclusion, national and local productivity and competitiveness also mean that SME employers need to be more aware about employing younger, older, voluntary and refugee workers if they are to remain an attractive proposition to future talent.”

To participate in the research survey, go to


Make sure you fill in the required fields. No HTML or other code is allowed in the commenting field. Thanks for sharing your views with us.

Our Patrons

Halifax & District Chamber of Commerce Huddersfield & District Chamber of Commerce Wakefield & District Chamber of Commerce