After the UK election, any incoming government should focus on workforce flexibility rather than employee job security and on ensuring that further education is aligned with commercial requirements rather than promoting education for education’s sake.
These are the key demands laid out in the UK’s largest recruitment consultants Hays’ new ‘Manifesto for Employment’, which calls for a fiscal regime to foster job creation and inward investment as well as action to streamline employment laws and repeal recent legislation that “has made our workforce less adaptable”.
Alisatair [***], the firm’s chief executive, claimed in an article carried in the Sunday Telegraph: “Many businesses would like to recruit more staff, either temporary or permanent, but often feel there are too many risks involved, too many barriers to make it worthwhile. Others are suffering chronic skill shortages in key roles. Some are even scaling back their ambitions because of the difficulties involved in employing people today.”
As a result, the firm believes that a newly elected government should commit to freezing and then reducing employer’s National Insurance Contributions, limit the impact of the European Union’s Agency Worker’s Directive and place a moratorium on introducing any more employment legislation.
It must also tie immigration quotas more closely to skills requirements and realign the provision of further education towards commercial needs. To this end, the business community should be given an advisory role in devising both university curriculae and individual courses.
Financial incentives in the shape of differentiated tuition fees should also be employed to encourage students to undertake courses that are aligned with future industry requirements.
All pupils must also leave school with basic literacy, numeracy and commercial skills and understanding, while government funding for apprenticeships should be increased to both improve uptake and boost their standing with employers.
Finally, commercial disciplines and improved management must be introduced into the public sector to enable it to cope effectively with the huge amounts of change it will have to undergo as a result of budget cuts.
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