Last week’s unexpected General Election result, leading to a hung parliament has prompted a variety of responses from recruitment industry bodies.
The overarching verdict is that it will be crucial for the next government to listen to the needs of the UK’s workers by liaising more with recruitment industry bodies, and to prioritise the UK jobs market to avoid further uncertainty.
Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo)’s Director of Operations, Samantha Hurley, commented on how the election results do not inspire the necessary stability: “It seems that Theresa May’s gamble on calling a snap election hasn’t paid off and it is unfortunate that this result does not offer the level of stability that the UK desperately needs. In light of this uncertainty, the next government should be especially careful to avoid knee jerk changes to taxation, employment regulation or visa controls associated with our exit from the EU. … We hope the new administration will be open to working closely with us to ensure collateral damage is kept to a minimum.”
The need to preserve the rights of the flexible workforce, freelancers and contractors, is another issue of concern. Julia Kermode of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) elaborated on why the UK economy needs them more now than ever: “ … During uncertain times we know that freelancers and contractors are key to the economy and they need to be allowed to work and thrive without the shackles of red tape and burdensome legislation that holds them back. … What’s more, flexible workers can hit the ground running to be available to businesses on an ‘as needs basis’ and MPs should recognise that such workers are key to keeping the economy steady as we face a turbulent time ahead.”
The need for the recruitment industry to play a leading role in influencing the UK workforce’s future direction was highlighted by Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC).
He said: “Whatever shape the new government takes, now more than ever, it will need to listen to sensible and practical advice as it steers the country through difficult Brexit negotiations. High on the government’s list, at a time of financial uncertainty, should be the need to create an environment that is attractive to both internal and external investors. One of the conditions for that will be suitable flexibility in the workforce.
“As debate about future direction evolves, there is an opportunity to influence the new government. The Taylor Review is due to report this summer, and its outcome is likely to bear strongly on our sector. To help ensure that the recruitment industry is not side-lined there needs to be unity behind a single, strong voice that calls for a modern and progressive vision for labour relations.”
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) echoed the need for the government to work with recruitment industry bodies to create a healthy jobs market.
REC Chief Executive, Kevin Green: “ … The UK has labour, skill and talent shortages and the evidence points to the situation getting worse before it gets better. Organisations are only as good as the people they hire. In hospitals, schools, start-ups or in larger businesses, employers are deeply concerned about the impact on their business of not being able to find people for the jobs they have available. Recruiters are jobs market experts, and we will urge policymakers to collaborate with the REC and our members to build the best jobs market in the world.”