Worker and economic needs 'must be balanced'

Tuesday 12 May 2015

The needs of UK plc and the economy as a whole need to be balanced finely in order to ensure success.

That is the opinion of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), which was responding to the Conservative Party's victory in the UK General Election.

Specifically, APSCo has expressed its hope that the government will continue to balance these needs with the protection of "potentially vulnerable workers".

This will include pushing a new regulatory framework that differentiates highly paid, highly skilled staff, contractors and limited companies, and keeps them outside regulation that has been created to protect vulnerable workers.

Samantha Hurley, head of External Relations & Compliance at the association, said she will also welcome the continuation of work undertaken to incentivise "fair and transparent payment practices", and the removal of contractual barriers that stop some businesses from accessing affordable finance.

Another essential move is a change in thinking that traditional permanent employment is the only valid form of engaging staff, and that the many different types of engagement being utilised in today’s market should be valued.

"It is also crucial that any labour market strategy acknowledges the major differences within the UK recruitment sector. Access to highly skilled, professional talent, supplied in the main through business to business arrangements, requires a different legislative programme to that required for the attainment of low-paid, potentially vulnerable workers," Ms Hurley added.

The organisation has also urged the new government to understand highly paid, knowledge-based professionals' desire to create "portfolio careers" and protect UK plc’s capability to access such talent.

According to Ms Hurley, the UK's global competitiveness is "inexorably linked" to the continued development and flexibility of its labour market.

The sentiment has been echoed by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), which says it intends to work "flat out" in the coming months to build links with new ministers and officials to make them aware of the positive contribution the industry makes to the UK labour market.

Kevin Green, the REC's chief executive, said he hopes that the Conservative government will deliver on its manifesto pledges, with certain issues coming to the fore.

"The Conservatives have promised to focus on economic growth and competitiveness, which we anticipate being positive for the UK recruitment industry. However, we need to convince the new government to adopt a sensible and balanced approach to immigration so that UK businesses can hire the talent and skills they need to succeed," he added.

Mr Green advocated UK membership within a reformed EU and also pointed to the REC’s own manifesto for jobs, published in December, which set out recommendations for the next government.

As well as calling on policy-makers to give everyone the chance to succeed through work and accelerate business growth and job creation, it also set out targets to build the best local jobs market and enhance the UK's position in the global marketplace.
If the new government can help to deliver on these aims, the REC says that the coming administration could see a further upswing in the UK jobs market, providing the new government's own pledges are maintained.

By Victoria McDonnell

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