With the shimmering contours of 2019 coming into view, it is a good time to take stock of the last 12 months on the campaign trail and to look at what next year has in store. Although our JobsOutlook report paints a weather-beaten scene of plummeting confidence in the economy, the UK jobs market (and the recruitment industry that supports it) has, so far, risen above the Brexit turbulence.
Here are five reasons to approach 2019 with resolve and optimism:
- We have a strong platform to build on – Campaigning highlights in 2018 included positive outcomes within the Taylor Review, delaying of IR35 changes in the private sector, wide-ranging GDPR implementation support, positive movement on the apprenticeship levy, and an agreement to regulate umbrellas. We have also doubled our contact points with ministers and parliamentary groups. The opportunity is now there to make an ambitious step-change in our influence and campaigning work.
- Member input is fuelling the campaigning engine – In 2018 we increased member engagement in our campaigning work by 40 per cent. We will build on this in 2019; as the old saying goes "the wolf make the pack stronger, the pack makes the wolf stronger". The insight and drive from REC members will be crucial in 2019 as we fight our corner on the issues that matter and position our collective voice at the forefront of all the key debates.
- The good recruitment message will be more relevant than ever - The REC/KPMG Report on Jobs shows candidate availability decreasing month on month. Employers need to innovate and review hiring procedures to attract the skills they need. Facilitating this review process is the core aim of our Good Recruitment Campaign and the focus on ramping up recruitment procedures also plays directly to our work on inclusion and the future of jobs.
- The expertise of recruitment professionals will come to the fore – External challenges are opening doors for recruiters to drive more strategic conversations with clients. This was a core theme of our ‘Recruitment 2025’ whitepaper and is reflected in our JobsOutlook data. ‘Access to specific expertise’ is now cited by 75 percent of employers as a key factor in choosing an agency to work with; our aim in 2019 is to enhance this expertise through a regular ‘heads-up’ on policy and sectoral developments.
- Flexible staffing will provide a crucial outlet – JobsOutlook shows a 15-percentage point year-on-year increase (to 50 percent) in the number of employers using agency workers to manage uncertainty. Access to a vibrant temporary, contract and interim market will be key in 2019; the REC’s role will be to showcase this positive role and to develop new solutions for balancing flexibility and fairness.
Brexit will dominate in 2019. The potential implications for jobs will be at the forefront of the political debate, and other big ticket issues such as implementing Matthew Taylor recommendations and immigration policy will provide further platforms for amplifying our voice. As the world of work continues to evolve at pace, there has never been a more important time for our industry to step up and help government make sense of the changing landscape.
Roll on 2019.