One year on from the launch of the REC’s Future of jobs commission report, a grand coalition of recruitment professionals, labour market experts, tech gurus, and government officials gathered at REC HQ to take stock of the immediate and longer term outlook for the UK jobs market. The ‘One Year On’ summit underlined a number of key messages ranging from the use of AI and measuring job quality, to sectoral trends and the need to better prepare future generations of workers.
- Sectors 2025 - The summit provided a platform for launching the REC’s latest Future of jobs whitepaper, Public Sector 2025, which was developed in association with Indeed and which underlines the need to develop innovative recruitment procedures to compete for staff and skills over the next decade. REC director of policy, Tom Hadley argued that: “Access to staff is the major concern across many sectors ranging from industrial to life sciences; we need to spread the good recruitment message, as well as influencing post-Brexit immigration models”.
- The future must be all-inclusive – There is still a way to go in winning the business case for inclusion, but progress is being made. The government’s Disability Confident scheme has reached a milestone of 10,000 employers signed up, and REC members are making change happen on the wider inclusion agenda. Charlotte Alldritt, director of the Centre for Progressive Policy highlighted the positive role of recruiters in this area and made the point that "jobs and progression opportunities are key to inclusive growth".
- Getting on board with AI and measuring job quality - Paul Sharpe, chief operating officer at InterQuest Group, argued that “AI and new technologies will undoubtedly disrupt the recruitment sector; the key is to get ahead of the game”. AI and automation was seen by delegates as one of the key external factors shaping the future of the UK jobs market, second only to Brexit. Martyn Evans, chief executive of the Carnegie UK Trust argued that “the focus on ‘Good Work’ is a sea change in the way that we perceive jobs in the UK” and outlined proposals for measuring job quality, including progression, voice and fair pay.
- Building bridges in education - Claudia Harris, chief executive of the Careers and Enterprise Company, argued that “young people who have contact with employers at school gain confidence and get better outcomes”. Driving this engagement is the core aim of REC’s Future of jobs ambassadors network. Sarah Hopkins, director of executive search firm Hopkins Longworth, argued that “recruitment professionals have a huge amount of expertise to share with young people and can help build the bridge between education and work”.
- Building regional voice - Gary Woodman, chief executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership underlined the key role that the recruitment sector can play by feeding into the regional skills debate and made the point that “people issues are now at the top of the list when it comes to discussions around regional development, ahead of infrastructure”. The REC’s recent ‘Future of Jobs in the Midlands’ event was a precursor to more future-focused regional activities.
In opening the summit, REC chief executive, Neil Carberry spelled out the challenge of addressing immediate Brexit uncertainty whilst not losing sight of longer term priorities for our jobs market. The rallying call is for the recruitment industry to make the step-up as one of the UK's key professional services sectors. Being a leading voice on the future of jobs forms part of this agenda.
For more information on Future of jobs activities and on joining our Future of jobs ambassadors network, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org