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Diversity in all things

Diversity in all things

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Diversity in all things


A very positive trend that was really gaining some ground before the current crisis was the growing recognition that diversity can have such a positive effect.

This has been mainly about giving women more opportunities in the top jobs, which was long overdue and will be hugely beneficial.

I have been privileged to be involved in three CEO recruitments in the last three years - those jobs have all gone to women and not because of their gender, but because they were the best. 

womeninbusinessfeminismequality.jpg

Pictured: "Those jobs have all gone to women and not because of their gender, but because they were the best."

Any investment manager worth his or her salt will tell you that a diversified portfolio is important to protect the value of your investments and that goes for an economy too. Diversity provides resilience and of course opportunities for our young people. Our portfolio is pretty diversified but in my view we need to do more and of course keep the diversity we already have.

Financial services our current top dog may have declined in its economic contribution and productivity over the last 20 years, but it still the biggest employer, the biggest taxpayer with the export income it generates working its way round our economy and benefiting us all. This is a sector where we have real competitive advantage based on our independence in tax matters, regulatory reputation and the experience and resourcefulness of those who work in it. The really great news is that so far financial services appears to have been immune to the corporate form of covid-19, hopefully that will continue. We are all so reliant on its prosperity and resilience. 

Fifty years ago, tourism was our biggest economic sector, it maybe smaller these days but before covid was finally growing again. The sector provides other benefits to Jersey beyond the economics, it supports our extensive air and sea network, our high street, restaurants, hotels and attractions like the zoo, which, all benefit us locals. Covid has clearly already had a huge impact on the sector and the nightmare of three consecutive winters looks like it is coming true. I am praying that Ministers will continue support not just for those in the sector but also to preserve the other benefits for our community.

The new kid on the block is digital - sadly we took a long time to get behind the establishment of this sector, but over the last few years some modest amounts have been invested by Government in its future, which, after all, is all of our futures.

Of course, beyond pure digital start-ups, there is the fact that every sector is either being challenged by digital disrupters or enhanced by it. It is a sector we must support. 

developer app technology digital

Pictured: "The new kid on the block is digitalsadly we took a long time to get behind the establishment of this sector".

Last, but not least, comes agriculture and fishing the original source of Jersey’s fame through our fantastic cows, the great Jersey Royal and our amazing sea food. Agriculture still has a crucial role to play as a producer of food and as guardians of our countryside and sea. Long may that continue.

By my calculations, in 2019 Government spent about £15m promoting and supporting these industries.

Of course, £15m is a lot of money but it’s a tiny fraction of the £1.3billion total spending, especially when one considers that without a healthy economy we will all suffer. No doubt, Government will be looking again at their budgets in the light of lower tax take and the additional support expenditure, I don’t envy them.

Some might see reducing investment in economic diversity as an easy way to save £15m but I would urge them to show the courage we need in our leaders right now and invest more in maintaining our economic diversity.

It is much too precious to just let go of in a panic response.

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