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Success of UK labour market requires next government to address range of challenges – REC

The scale of our challenge requires us to be much more creative about the way we think about work and skills. So says Sir Charlie Mayfield, chair of the John Lewis Partnership and UKCES in a new book on the future of the UK labour market published today.


What can be done to boost economic productivity? How do we strike the right balance between flexibility and security to benefit workers and businesses alike? What reforms to education and immigration policy can be used to address persistent skills shortages? How will technology change the way we work and think about work?


These are some of the pressing questions addressed by 24 expert economists, business leaders, trade unionists and policymakers in ‘Building the best jobs market in the world: the expert view’, published today by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“The UK labour market has undergone significant change in the last decade and we believe this will only accelerate over the next few years. We feel strongly that our dynamic labour market is a real competitive advantage and must be nurtured and protected.

“We know that not everyone agrees with us on every issue here at the REC, but I think we all appreciate that we have a shared ambition of making the UK the best jobs market in the world. So we have set out to collect the views of experts and provoke a debate about how we, as a nation, can achieve this.”

David Smith, Economics Editor, The Sunday Times
Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser, Centre for Economics & Business Research
Professor David Blanchflower CBE, Dartmouth College
Ian Brinkley, Chief Economist, The Work Foundation
Brian Groom, Editorial consultant and writer
Jonathan Portes, Director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
Dean Royles, Director of HR and OD, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Katja Hall, Deputy Director-General, CBI
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive, CIPD
Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman, John Lewis Partnership and UKCES
Sir Brendan Barber, Chair, Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC
Steve Hughes, Head of Economic and Social Policy, Policy Exchange
Shaun Rafferty, Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Paul Hackett, Director, Smith Institute
Baroness Margaret Prosser OBE, Labour peer
Charlotte Sweeney, Charlotte Sweeney Associates
Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, Liberal Democrat peer
Ros Altmann CBE, UK government’s business champion for older workers
Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Albert Bravo-Biosca, Senior Economist, Nesta
Duncan O’Leary, Research Director, Demos

Professor Danny Dorling, Oxford University

Matt Alder, Digital, Social and Mobile Marketing Strategist, Metashift

The book is free to download from the REC website


Ninety-five per cent of UK businesses must hire if demand increases – REC

Four in ten employers (39 per cent) have ‘no capacity’ to take on more work without more staff, and a further 56 per cent have only ‘a little’ capacity, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The latest data shows another month-on-month increase in the number of employers saying they need to take on more staff to meet growing demand. Since August 2014, the proportion of employers with limited or no capacity has increased by 5 percentage points (from 90 to 95 per cent), and in the same period the number of employers reporting ‘a fair amount’ of spare capacity has halved from 10 per cent in August 2014, to just 5 per cent in February 2015.


This month’s survey also found that almost eight out of ten employers (79 per cent) plan to hire more permanent staff in the next three months. A further 13 per cent intend to maintain current staffing numbers and only 8 per cent indicate they will reduce their headcount.


Twenty-four per cent of employers highlighted an anticipated shortage of temporary workers with technical and engineering skills (19 per cent share that worry for permanent workers).


REC chief executive Kevin Green said:


“We heard a lot in last week’s Budget that confirms what employers are saying to us; that confidence is returning to the market and that businesses are seeking to take advantage of increasing demand. The government also announced new investment in infrastructure and transport initiatives, which is a further sign of the strengthening economy.


“Questions remain however about where employers will find the skilled workers to carry out these projects, and to respond to growth. Employers are already reporting talent shortages in key industries like engineering, IT and construction. Fixing this needs to be a priority for the next government so that the UK can continue to prosper. That means a sensible approach to immigration so that businesses have access to the talent they need today, while the government improves careers advice in schools and encourages more young people to study the right subjects.


“Recruiters also have a major part to play in connecting employers to untapped talent pools, such as the 1 million older workers who are not currently employed, and who could provide the skills and experience that employers are looking for.”

REC statement in response to Jim Murphy

REC statement in response to Jim Murphy’s Question Time remarks about recruitment agencies

Friday, 27 March 2015

Responding to Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Jim Murphy’s claim on BBC One’s ‘Question Time’ last night (26 March 2015) that “immigrants are exploited often by recruitment agencies”, and that “we should ban those employment agencies that only recruit from overseas workers”, REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“It was disappointing to hear Jim Murphy come out with same old tired, overused and misleading lines about agencies and overseas recruitment on Question Time last night.

“This will not only serve to frustrate the 100,000 hard-working people in the recruitment industry but also the 630,000 people that our industry helped find a new permanent job last year and the 1.15million people temporary we place into temporary or contract placements each and every day of the year.

“The REC’s position has always been that all job adverts must be advertised in English and in Britain at the same time as being advertised overseas. The new provision in the Conduct Regulations enshrines what we believe was already required of our members, and what is already expected of all employers, including recruiters, under the Equality Act 2010.

“For the avoidance of doubt and to ensure absolute compliance, we recommend that our recruiters should advertise in Great Britain and in English every time they have a new vacancy.

“If there is any evidence of an REC member illegally advertising exclusively from overseas, this should be sent to us so that we can investigate it through our robust compliance procedures which are supported by the TUC and the CBI.

“We continue to talk to politicians from every political party and in these conversations we will put the record straight. We also call on REC members to talk directly to existing and prospective MPs in the run up to the election. We think that by inviting them into your organisation to see first-hand the great work that recruiters do up and down the UK, we will start the process of educating them of the value of our great industry.

“Our manifesto demonstrates how the vibrant and dynamic recruitment sector helps British businesses to get the talent they need and assists millions of individuals get a job that often transforms their lives.”



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