REC Scotland addressing specific challenges for Scottish recruiters

The REC Scotland Policy Forum assembled in Edinburgh this month, bringing together a full-house of members covering all sectors from hospitality and construction, through to legal and healthcare.
 

#RECScotland – addressing specific challenges for Scottish recruiters

Mar022017 people

The REC Scotland Policy Forum assembled in Edinburgh this month, bringing together a full-house of members covering all sectors from hospitality and construction, through to legal and healthcare. Discussions focussed on specific challenges facing recruiters north of the border – in particular the potential impact of political uncertainty on hiring activities and implementation of the apprenticeship levy in Scotland.

Pressures on the jobs market in Scotland

Market conditions in Scotland are stagnating - this is partly becasue of Brexit uncertainty, but also due to the possibility of a second independence referendum.

Our Report on Jobs data shows a decline in permanent placements in Scotland compared to an increase across the UK as a whole. The lack of candidates also continues to be a challenge, with candidate availability for permanent roles in decline for 45 months.

Nursing, medical and care jobs continue to show the strongest vacancy growth, whilst Oil and Gas continues to struggle. Many recruiters in this field are now looking to diversify into other sectors. This trend was also picked up in our recent oil and gas webinar. Also of note, recruiters in the construction sector flagged a slow down at the design and planning stage of projects, which is likely have a knock-on effect on hiring activity.

The apprenticeship levy and IR35 

Upcoming changes to IR35 legislation in April are a major concern. Speaking at the Forum meeting, REC Solicitor and Head of Professional Services, Lewina Farrell, underlined the need for members to “get to grips with the practical aspects of the changes – including HMRC’s digital tool for establishing self-employed status – despite the tight timescales for implementation”. Other discussion points included retrospective assessments after IR35 changes come into force and implications for the use of umbrella companies.

The apprenticeship levy is also due to be in force from April and will create a number of challenges – as well as some potential benefits – for REC members in Scotland. Employers and recruiters will have to make the same contribution (0.5 per cent, on a payroll of over £3 million) but the system of reclaiming the levy varies across the devolved nations. Specific guidance for Scotland has been prepared by the REC legal team and members in Scotland are encouraged to build a dialogue with their funding authority.

Boosting our industry's voice in Scotland

Proactive activities to showcase the positive role of recruiters will feed into the Matthew Taylor Review of modern employment practices and will position the industry at the forefront of the disability and wider inclusion debate in Scotland.

Sectoral campaigns are also crucial in order to reflect specific challenges north of the border. As part of this we will be establishing a Scotland Health and Social Care working group (please contact neal.suchak@rec.uk.com for more information on this) and will be covering sectoral trends at forthcoming Scale Up events in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Looking ahead, it remains to be seen how a potential second independence referendum will affect business confidence and hiring activities. Recent growth in vacancy rates is encouraging, and the feedback from REC members is that the market could pick up once confidence is restored and investment decisions are made.

The challenging political and regulatory environment makes it more important than ever to ensure a strong collective voice for the recruitment industry in Scotland. This month’s meeting in Edinburgh was an important step forward.

Updates on developments in Scotland can be flagged using the #RECSCotland hashtag.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 by:

Neal Suchak photoNeal Suchak - Policy Advisor at the REC

Neal is a Policy Advisor at the REC and is responsible for the Health and Social Care sector group as well as the Life Sciences group. Prior to joining the REC in May 2016, Neal had worked at a political consultancy and the Patients Association; before which he had a career in pharmacy.