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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

In your corner: REC Campaigns and Policy news - 7 October 2021

Government and campaigns

Yerin Seo avatar

Written by Yerin Seo

Party conferences are over for another year, and labour shortages continued to dominate headlines, intensified by fuel shortages and empty shelves. In a nod to his levelling up ambition, the headline from the Prime Minister was that “promoting opportunity across the UK” is the “Conservative mission”. He told party conference that the UK was heading towards a higher wage, higher productivity, and lower tax economy. Bold rhetoric to party delegates, but as always, the devil will be in the detail…. when it comes! 

Campaign on Labour and Skills Shortages 
The REC’s campaign on labour and skills shortages continues to gather pace, ensuring the views and insights from the recruitment industry are heard at the heart of the government. We’ve made great progress so far with a ministerial meeting in the calendar along with two other meetings with shadow frontbench teams. To date, we have secured eight meetings with parliamentarians, and six written parliamentary questions have been tabled on our behalf. As a result of our campaign work, the REC has been invited to give oral evidence at the BEIS Select Committee in two weeks’ time, which is holding an inquiry into supply chain issues and the impact of shortages.  

Our campaign is beginning to have real cut through - we’ve been working with the Department for Education (DfE) on its Skills Bootcamps offering, and after countless calls from the REC and other industry bodies, Home Office has finally granted temporary visas to HGV drivers, even if they’re for shorter periods than we’d been hoping for.  For the latest updates on the campaign updates, make sure to follow this page, and don’t forget, you can also get involved by using our template for  writing to your MP or by submitting case studies.  

Meeting with Chair of Work and Pensions Select Committee 
The REC recently met with Stephen Timms MP (LAB, East Ham), Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. We took the opportunity to brief him on the labour and skills shortage issues in more detail and discussed the Apprenticeship Levy and the Select Committee’s agenda for next year.  

DfE looking for suppliers to work with to train 3,000 new HGV drivers  
The Department of Education is expected to publish an Invitation to Tender shortly, looking for employers and training providers to work alongside to train and produce new, road-ready HGV drivers by March 2022. The REC had the opportunity to attend the market engagement session ahead of the official tender’s publication, to share our views and we will keep our members posted on more details.   

Good Recruitment for Older Workers Guidance Published 
This week the Centre for Ageing Better, in partnership with the REC and CIPD, has published guide on how to be an age-inclusive recruiter. This guidance is based on the Centre for Ageing Better’s Good Recruitment for Older Workers (GROW) project findings. It is designed to help organisations recognise the negative role that age discrimination plays in recruitment processes and provide practical suggestions for employers to become more age inclusive. The guide has 5 principles of action:  

  1. Put age into ED&I;  
  2. Know your numbers;  
  3. De-bias your job adverts;  
  4. Check your process;  
  5. Build awareness and confidence.  

More detail on these actions, and the rest of the report can be found here

Roundtable for the logistics sector 
The REC will be hosting a roundtable with our members across the logistics sector next week to discuss the latest announcements and movements from the government to alleviate the shortages issue. We have invited DfE to join and present on the recently proposed Skills Bootcamps as well. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch via 

DHSC’s consultation on ‘vaccine passports’ 
The government is seeking views and comments from businesses, especially those working in the entertainment and hospitality sectors, on a proposed ‘certification regime’ as part of Plan B of the government’s COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021. Under Plan B, all members of the public aged 18 or over could be asked to present a proof of vaccination status to attend certain events and certain groups of workforces could be required to test for Covid-19 regularly. The consultation closes on 11 October. Click here for more information and to submit your response.  

Made Inside Britain’s event on recruiting prison leavers 
If you’re operating in the North West across construction, logistics, hospitality and manufacturing, an event with the Ministry of Justice might be of interest. Taking place on 19 October and 22 October, the event will present an opportunity to hear more on how more active recruitment activities with prison leavers can be one of the ways to utilise a wider candidate pool and untapped skills.  

REC wins new Export Support Services for members
The government has launched a new Export Support Service where UK businesses can receive business advice from the government. UK businesses selling goods or services to Europe can now get in touch with the export support team by phone or online to ask any questions such as regarding paperwork for export and rules for a specific country. This is a result of the REC’s involvement in the Brexit Business Taskforce and you can read more information via here.

Media corner 

  • On Saturday evening Neil Carberry spoke to Rachel Johnson on LBC about driver shortages, and you can watch a clip of that interview here
  • REC data was used in a Financial Times story on labour shortages in professional services. 
  • The Daily Express covered the launch of the new best practice guidance on recruitment of older workers, produced by the REC, Centre for Ageing Better and CIPD. 
  • The REC’s latest Report on Jobs will be published tomorrow, so look out for media coverage of that! 

Research Corner  
The REC’s latest JobsOutlook showed that in the three months to August, business confidence in their ability to hire new staff and make investment decisions remained high at net: +25. The survey also found that this confidence has boosted the number of employers looking for new permanent staff. Hiring intentions in the short term rose by three percentage points to net: +25 and in the long term also increased to net: +30. With demand for staff remaining high, the current labour shortages look set to continue for some time. 

The REC is also publishing the latest Report on Jobs on Friday, so keep an eye out for insight into labour market activity, demand, and worker availability.   

All REC primary contacts would have received an email to complete our annual Recruitment Industry Trends survey by Friday 15th October. The survey will help to create an up-to-date picture of the industry and its value to the UK Economy. Only primary contacts will be invited to complete the survey, but everyone can view the report from last year here