British employers should be more creative with their recruitment procedures and offer flexible work as standard, according to a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.
The future of jobs report says employers need to act now to improve the way they source, engage and nurture their workforce if they are to avoid rising skills shortages and further declines in productivity and competitiveness over the next seven years. At the same time, government policy must be geared to prepare for “seismic” changes in the world of work, says the report.
It states that the UK’s labour market will continue to ‘hollow out’ with mid-skill jobs declining in many sectors, sometimes exacerbated by automation. It predicts demographic changes will see Baby Boomers decline as a percentage of the workforce offset by the growing influence of younger generations who place a higher value on flexibility, work-life balance and personal development. It also talks about the impact of Brexit.
In addition to calling for flexible working to be standard, it recommends that employers remove barriers for under-represented groups, for instance, by using collaborative hiring or name-blind recruitment and that hirers should engage with schools, colleges and universities to provide real-world, practical advice and help young people be better prepared. It would like to see the government create a new Employment and Skills Advisory Committee to review data and take evidence to help the government plan investments in training, and immigration policy.
The report adds that policy-makers should ensure that all people can progress, for example, by making the apprenticeship levy into a broader training levy that benefits all workers. And it says that the government and business need to find new ways of measuring the success of the UK jobs market, including progress on inclusion, social mobility, pay gaps and productivity.
Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive Kevin Green says: “We rightly celebrate the fact that the UK labour market has remained both resilient and agile. But in order to retain that competitive advantage, business and government need to work collaboratively to implement some radical changes. By 2025 we want good work to be the norm, where businesses champion diversity and inclusion and invest in training and skills development for all staff, no matter what kind of contract they are on. We need to foster a labour market where anyone can both find work and progress within work, irrespective of their background.”