In her New Year message, Prime Minister Theresa May stressed that focusing on Brexit "will not be the limit of our ambitions” and underlined the need to “make a difference on the issues that matter to people’s daily lives”. Jobs and progression opportunities are a key part of this and we can expect another varied and high energy year on the campaigning front. As ever, our aim is to provide legal and compliance support to members, showcase our industry’s contribution and fight for the best possible regulatory environment.
We recently polled REC members and 85 per cent said that finding the right candidates had got harder over the last year. Employers and recruiters must be able to access the staff and skills they need to compete and grow which is why we will use our data and research to make the case for a balanced immigration strategy. We will work towards ensuring that people and skills remain a key component in the government’s industrial strategy.
Next steps on the Mathew Taylor Review and on labour market enforcement are two areas on the regulatory front we will be watching and responding to. We will also be developing a strong industry response to the government’s latest IR35 consultation and will build on recent discussions with ministers and No.10 to make the case for the apprenticeship levy to evolve into a more flexible training levy that can benefit all workers.
The Prime Minister’s New Year message included a specific focus on education and the NHS. Ensuring that we have the right staff in place at the right time across all our institutions is key to front line services which is why public procurement must promote good recruitment, sustainable supply and flexible staffing arrangements. We will be driving this message through our work in health and social care, education and across the wider public sector.
Boosting inclusion and opportunities for all remains a priority for policy-makers in 2018. We will maintain a proactive approach in this area by promoting good recruitment and by showcasing our industry’s role in helping people from all backgrounds progress in work. We will also engage with policy-makers to build the best possible post-Brexit jobs market and use the findings of our Future of jobs commission to position our industry at the forefront of the future of work debate.
In parallel to the above priorities, this year we will also feed into the global work of the World Employment Confederation, drive sectoral campaigns and provide ongoing GDPR support ahead of the May 2018 kick-off.
With Brexit negations entering a new phase and the staffing squeeze set to intensify, 2018 will be a pivotal year for the UK jobs market and for our industry. As ever, the input and drive of REC members will be essential as we continue to ramp up our industry’s voice on the major employment and labour market challenges ahead.