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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

In your corner- REC Campaigns and Policy news 28 July 2022

Government and campaigns

Yerin Seo avatar

Written by Yerin Seo Senior Campaigns Advisor

The impact of labour and skills shortages needs no further explanation among our members who have been on the front line of this for the last 24 months. However, to demonstrate the economic and business impact, see how we compare to our G7 counterparts, and most importantly, outline the solutions, the REC has just published our ‘Overcoming Shortages: How to create a sustainable labour market’ report.   

Published on 18 July, the report found that the UK economy could lose up to £39bn a year from 2024, the equivalent to almost the entire defence budget, if we don’t address labour and skills shortages. And Based on our findings, we proposed a number of recommendations for both business and governments, who need to work together if we want to address this issue and create a genuinely sustainable labour market. Policy makers need to be looking at issues ranging from local skills policies and levelling up, apprenticeship levy reform, to creating an immigration system that can flex to labour market needs. But recruitment businesses also have a major role to play. That is why we’ve included recommendations and practical advice for our members (and your clients) aimed at helping you navigate this tight market, boost revenue, improve staff attraction and retention and enhance productivity. We hope you find the report valuable.  

The report has already been shared with over 2,000 political and sector stakeholders. And we’ve already had a several mentions in The Times , airtime during debates in the House of Lords, and have already secured a number of meetings with MPs. But this is only the beginning of the campaign, plenty more to come – stay tuned!   

BEIS Select Committee invites the REC to speak on labour and skills shortages  

The REC was invited to give evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee on labour and skills shortages on 19 July. This was part of the committee’s inquiry into ‘post-pandemic economic growth: UK labour markets’, which the REC also submitted written evidence to. REC CEO Neil Carberry used the opportunity to talk about the REC’s new report on shortages and articulated the importance of putting the “people stuff” first by creating the future workforce strategy. He also talked about the need for flexibility and investment into skills and the workforce. You can watch the session here.  

Regulation 7 repealed to allow agency workers to cover strikers  

Last week, the government passed secondary legislation to repeal Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003. This regulation prevented agencies from supplying staff to replace workers on strike, but as of last week this restriction is no longer in place. The REC is considering the impact that this will have on our members and will be issuing guidance on how to navigate such situations and client needs in future in line with commercial and ethical goals. It is very difficult at this stage to accurately assess the impact that repealing Regulation 7 will have. It is also unknown how many employment businesses will choose to provide temporary workers in these circumstances and what the effect of doing so will have on the reputation of the recruitment industry. What is very clear is that employment businesses choosing to do so, will need to ensure compliance with the remaining Conduct Regulations and to the best of their ability safeguard workers they place during strike action. If you need guidance or information, the REC legal helpline is always available for members and we’ve also got some useful guidance on our website.  

Neurodiversity in recruitment survey 

As part of the REC’s ongoing work on EDI, we are partnering with Uptimize, a training company who specialises in neurodiversity at work. We are producing new guidance on neurodiversity in recruitment and are interested in hearing views from our members on the subject. Please share your views and experience via this short two-minute survey to help us stay informed.  

BEIS publish new employment status guidance 

Following their consultation on employment status earlier this year, the government has published their response and BEIS have issued new and improved guidance around employment status for employers, recruiters, and workers. This guidance is intended to be a one-stop-shop for individuals and businesses to understand which employment rights apply to them, and the difference between different employment statuses. 

Research corner 

The REC’s latest JobsOutlook showed that in April-June 2022, employer confidence in making hiring and investment decisions for their own business hit net: -13. This is the same level as April-June 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Meanwhile, business confidence in the economy fell by 40 percentage points from January-March 2022 to net: -50. 

Media corner 

The REC team has been hard at work driving media attention to the report. The report has had 100 media hits since its release, including coverage across most national newspapers and regional papers across the UK. In particular, it was mentioned in two Times columns (by David Smith and Trevor Phillips) and the Financial Times. Neil Carberry also hit the airwaves to highlight the key points, talking to BBC World News and Times Radio, among others, which are available to watch now.