August saw UK businesses take on workers at the fastest pace in more than a decade - the Confederation of British Industry reported monthly distributive trade figures far exceeding projections. Now is my time to up the pace as a recruiter and thank the world of fmcg for embracing a ‘feel-good summer’ by answering the call for long-awaited growth.

However, in spite of this employment surge, a troubling trend survives. When the downturn hit and budgets were sliced, the focus became on the Right Now, the Immediate Future, the Next Quarter. Longevity and forward planning took a back seat. A resulting lack of investment in training and development was coupled with redundancies and cuts in entry-level recruitment, resulting in our current headache: Where are our middle managers?

In spite of the growth of organic, I’m still seeing too many organisations using a pre-processed approach to recruitment. Dependence upon large corporate training schemes to source and develop entry-level talent with the anticipation of ‘creaming off’ pre-owned candidates has left a shortage of talent across the recruitment market. It’s time we stopped leaning on the bigger brands. Graduate recruitment continues to stand at 10% below pre-recession levels: we’re headed for crisis point, lacking the raw materials coming in at the bottom end in order to satisfy increasing demand at the top.

A grass-roots-up approach isn’t a novel concept, but it remains seriously underestimated. Continuing to hail experience as the Holy Grail in recruitment has blind-sighted many to the power of potential, when in reality the return on investment for malleable entry-level talent can far exceed the gamble raised by relying on the transferable skills of an outsider. If you develop and mould a blank slate, you can grow tailored and specialised skills relevant to your business: product knowledge and experience that can not be bought.

Organically grown candidates typically demonstrate higher productivity, motivation and loyalty. At Pareto, we are a product of our own process: adopting long-term employment strategies that grow candidates with the business and protect against those traits that so often result in high staff turnover. If we’re to fill the deficit, it’s time we took a home-grown approach.