‘Future of jobs’ report urges employers and policy-makers to face labour market challenges

Employers need to act now to prepare for the coming challenges in the labour market, according to The future of jobs, a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The concluding publication of the REC’s Future of jobs commission says that employers and their recruitment partners will have 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. “Business as usual” is not an option.

At the same time, government policy must be ready for “seismic” changes in the world of work.

Among the challenges anticipated over the next seven years is the continued hollowing-out of jobs market, with mid-skill jobs declining in favour of larger proportions of high- and low-skilled jobs in many sectors, sometimes exacerbated by automation.

Meanwhile, 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.

And Brexit and its aftermath will profoundly impact candidate availability by altering the types and numbers of foreign workers from the EU.

Recommendations of the report include that:

– Hirers should engage with schools, colleges and universities to provide real-world, practical advice and help young people be better prepared.

– Employers be more creative with their recruitment procedures, offer flexible work as standard and remove barriers for under-represented groups, e.g. by using collaborative hiring or name-blind recruitment.

– The government creates a new Employment and Skills Advisory Committee to review data and take evidence to help the government plan investments in training, and immigration policy.

– Policy-makers ensure that all people can progress, for example by making the apprenticeship levy into a broader training levy that benefits all workers.

– 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.

Chair of the Future of jobs commission, Esther McVey MP, said: “With the world of work undergoing seismic changes, we need to do more to support people on their journey from school to retirement. In particular, helping individuals develop the skills they need to capitalise on new opportunities must involve greater collaboration between business and schools. With the pace of change, there will be turbulent times ahead, but we want this report to fuel the debate about what the future world of work could and should look like.”

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the future of work, please read our research report “Preparing your business for the future of work. Digital business and disruptive technology in focus.

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