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May 2024

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There is a special type of sound that has become increasingly familiar in the corporate context – the ‘D&I sigh’.

You’ll have heard it, the one that escapes from the back of the meeting room as soon phrases such as ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’, ‘gender pay gap’, ‘women on boards’ enter the conversation.

It’s born of a feeling that initiatives are done to ‘tick boxes’ or for ‘good PR’, rather than because they’ll make a real,
tangible difference. It was a conversation with renowned leadership expert Dr Eve Poole last month (Unplugged, P18) that got me thinking around this theme.

Dr Eve, who herself was the first female Chair of the very school that King Charles III attended, very eloquently explains that a mix of nature and nurture means women operate in crises in a completely different way to men – their natural impulse is not to hunker down, but to information-gather in a way that can make better sense of an emerging picture and identify key threats.

More women on boards isn’t a frivolity, therefore, Dr Eve argues – it’s a necessity for de-risking.

In a Jersey law and policymaking context – ‘de-risking’ is a concept we should be taking very seriously. And not just in terms of gender, but age.

The island has, for a long time, suffered from a phenomenal blind spot in understanding and delivering for islanders under the age
of 35 – and it is now coming to an alarming 
head, with the effects of the ‘Bean drain’ now starting to be felt across the labour market and economy.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that there hasn’t been enough urgent attention – while our States Assembly took a step forward in ‘de-risking’ gender-wise at the last election (28 men to 21 women, compared to 35 to 14 previously), the average age only fell from 59 to 57.

It is more vital than ever to be not only be listening to the voices of the next generation – but allowing them to lead.

Our cover stars, young island DJ crew The Loft, want to see changes to licensing and events legislation to help regain Jersey’s status as the sort of nightlife hub that previously had visitors wanting – and deciding – to move here.

Their calls echo those from other events and hospitality leaders over the better part of a decade, but the pace of change has been glacial, and we’re now told not to expect Licensing Law changes before 2026.

For settled Ministers, draft policy change within mere years might sound like ‘swift action’, but it is no succour to those who are seriously considering their future in Jersey right now.

Thankfully, there are positive green shoots in the form of first-time buyer options, which we explore on P40, and a promise of more affordable homes to come.

Even with this welcome homes help, we are still not yet able to make the ‘grass is greener’ argument in terms of cost-of-living (is that tunnel ready yet?). So, without vibrant events and culture or a barrier-free system to innovation and new business, what carrots do we have left to offer?

To de-risk our island, we need to get planting, and fast. Connect will always lift up the risktakers doing their bit to de-risk Jersey – we hope you will too.

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