With the post-election brouhaha still raging, what might the disrupted political scene mean for the jobs market and for our industry? Below are some of the specific questions that REC members will be asking themselves.
What are the implications for the economy and jobs market?
Uncertainty creates a vacuum and is never good for the economy or for the jobs market. This is why our initial response to the general election urged the politicians to reach an agreement quickly and to prioritise prosperity and jobs. One point that the REC will continue to make is that we are fortunate to have a dynamic temporary/contract market which enables employers to access the staff and skills they need in times of uncertainty.
Will we see a change of approach on key policy issues?
The need for a balanced and agile immigration strategy remains a key REC message to government. Some commentators believe that the election result will mean a slightly softer approach to immigration and the Brexit process more generally. Ongoing challenges for our sector such as IR35 and the apprenticeship levy will not be affected but are issues we are continuing to drive through our manifesto for jobs which we will be taking forward with new MPs and incoming ministers. The government-commissioned Matthew Taylor review into modern working practices is more or less complete and the likelihood is that this will still be published sooner rather than later.
What are some of the longer term policy implications?
On a general note, the small working majority means that the government is more likely to seek non-legislative measures to implement new policy initiatives. This provides great opportunities for representative organisations like REC to put forward workable non-regulatory solutions for addressing specific policy challenges. The impact of the youth vote at the general election means that policy makers are likely to be more open towards policies that specifically target young people.
What does the new political landscape mean for our own campaigning work?
The REC will work hard over the coming days, weeks and months to build links with the new government and new MPs. The fall-out from the conservative campaign may mean less centralised power within No 10 and more ownership to different government departments – most of whom we already have good working relationships with including a formal partnership agreement with the Department for Work & Pensions. We have always sought to engage positively will all the major political parties; Thursday’s outcome underlines the importance of nurturing our links to key players within a revitalised Labour party.
How can REC members get involved?
REC members can play a key role by engaging with local MPs to make them aware of the positive contribution our industry makes to the UK economy and labour market. With devolved powers and new City mayors, having a strong regional voice is increasingly important and we are looking for more REC members to work with the policy team as REC Regional Directors. Recruiters are jobs market experts, and we will urge policy-makers to collaborate with the REC and our members to build the best jobs market in the world.
The news today that the Queen’s speech has been postponed can be seen as a further indication that priorities are being re-evaluated. Despite the general post-election mayhem and initial uncertainty, one thing remains crystal clear: addressing the squeeze on skills and staffing must be a priority for the new government. This is an opportunity to position our voice at the forefront of the debate and show what our industry is all about.