Establishing Chester as the go to city for professionals

16 March 2022
Andrew Wright, Managing Director

How can the businesses of Chester work together to help each other attract, retain, and develop colleagues, not only for the benefit of their own business, but also for the benefit of the entire Chester business community, establishing Chester as the go to city for professionals?

Watch my presentation to members of the Chester BiD on collaboration across the city.

Chester is a fantastic place to work and to own and run a business. As the owner of a Chester based business, I believe it has the potential to be one of the most vibrant business communities in the UK, however I also believe there are several key challenges we all face:

Like many businesses across the county, Cullimore Dutton has several unfilled vacancies, some of which have been open for some time and recruitment has been a huge challenge. Over the longer term if this trend continues and the City looses talent to larger cities, it will have a significant negative impact on the economy and on all of our businesses.

Hybrid Working
The pandemic changed how we work, and hybrid working is here to stay, this I believe is a good thing. However, it presents our city’s business leaders with a challenge; why should colleagues choose to work in Chester when they can work for Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, or even London based businesses where they may only required to attend the office once a week, once a fortnight or even once a month? This level of flexibility combined with potentially larger salaries in the bigger cities presents Chester with a huge challenge.

Learning & Development
Most if not all businesses will have some sort of learning and development plan for their team; but if you do not, how do you plan to retain them – investment in learning and development is essential to retain colleagues. All too often though, these programmes end up as webinars or Zoom calls or worse still get shelved while we get on with the day job.

No silver bullet
So, what can we do to attract, retain, and develop colleagues as a collective? Can we create a business community in which colleagues feel valued, are proud to be part of and ultimately want to progress their careers in? After all we want the best people working within our business community.

As with any challenge, there is no silver bullet, however, I believe there is a way that the Chester business community can collaborate and help each other in this quest…

Go dating…
Yes, go dating; in fact, we all need to go on several dates!

On a good date the following will happen:
• You ask and will be asked questions, creating the basis for a conversation which builds a rapport with the other person
• You learn about the other person; what they like, don’t like and what interests them, and fingers crossed
• You have an enjoyable time.

So, what if we applied this dating approach to our professional business community. What if our colleagues go on dates (but let’s call these business dates), where colleagues from different sectors, job shadow each other maybe for a day, a morning or maybe for just an hour or two?

What benefits would this bring for our colleagues?

What if a local estate agent spent the day with our Residential Conveyancing team, would it make them a Conveyancing solicitor? No, but would it give them a better understanding of the legal process, and in turn help them to become a more rounded businessperson, probably.

Or what if we held a Chester City Professionals training day, where we learn from each other and agree plans for building a successful working environment for our colleagues.

If this collaborative approach was embraced across the city, without agenda, with the shared goal of ensuring that all Chester Professionals feel supported to become the best businessperson they can be. Would this generate a sense of belonging, community and feeling of value, helping us to attract, retain and develop our colleagues and in turn, help Chester to become the city of choice for professionals?

So how can you get involved?
Interested? If so, Chester BID and Cullimore Dutton are inviting businesses to nominate one representative to join us for a free dinner to discuss how we implement this idea of professionals sharing knowledge across the city.

This event will be on Tuesday 26 April, at 5pm in Chez-Jules.
To register your interest please email

Andrew Wright