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A new All-Party Parliamentary Group has been set up to help create a recruitment system that works for jobseekers and employers in the post-Covid work landscape.
How should hiring change in a changing world of work? What kind of protections do we need if we are applying for jobs online? How do we ensure Artificial Intelligence doesn’t exclude some of us? All of these questions will come under the umbrella of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Modernising Employment.
Just launched, it will hold its first meeting on 10th July, to be followed by more sessions after the summer recess. The aim is to come up with solid proposals for how the Government and industry can make UK hiring better.
Keith Rosser is the driving force behind the group. He is Chair of the Better Hiring Institute, a social enterprise created during the pandemic to prepare for a post-Covid labour market. It works with industry and government to make hiring “faster, fairer and safer”. Its main focus was initially on digitising the right to work process to improve the remote hiring process to bypass the need for employers to meet a person face to face when recruiting. Keith says this limits the talent pool available to employers. As a result of their work, legislation came into effect in April 2022 enabling employers to work with certified digital identity service providers to utilise Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to carry out digital identity checks on British and Irish passport holders.
Keith met Andrew Henderson, a consultant who provides the Secretariat service of a number of APPGs. They spoke about the need to put making UK hiring more competitive globally at the heart of government to address labour shortages and reduce the workloads in stretched public services. They felt taking all the issues associated with modernising employment and making it more inclusive to APPG level. Andrew helped with identifying a cross-party group of MPs and members of the House of Lords who might be interested. Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull, has, for instance, spoken about how she wants to make Hull the co-working capital of the UK. Keith says enabling large and growing employers to hire people from across the UK could benefit towns like Hull so that graduates don’t feel forced to move to bigger cities to get good jobs.
The APPG will cover digital innovation to enable digital hiring in a fair way that doesn’t exclude certain groups of people, for instance, those who have taken a career break or have different life skills, and is able to deal with scammers offering fake remote jobs. Keith says many of the processes we now use involve time-consuming red tape. He cites the example of the paper-based process for references.
It is also likely to cover issues such as transparency over hours and salaries in job advertisement and smarter regulation of flexible working to include gig workers, freelancers and others and also how employment rights need to change to include digital workers better, for instance, protections against online bullying. Asked about the so-called right to disconnect, Keith says the aim – to curb overworking – is good, but the implementation needs to take account of the fact that not everyone wants to work 9 to 5.
“Our focus will be on clear actions that make a difference,” says Keith.