The labour market needs urgent reform despite its strong performance during the recession, the head of the UK’s largest recruitment company has said.
Alistair Cox, chief executive of Hays, said the labour market had “serious shortcomings” and was losing its internationally competitive position on employment.
He warned that employers had no incentive to hire because of rising taxes, serious skills shortages and increased red tape, the Financial Times has reported.
He said: “We see clients who are nervous about recruiting staff because they just don’t know what the future holds from a tax or a legal perspective.”
In a joint report with the cnetre-right think-tank Reform, Hays has urged the next government to freeze and then reduce national insurance contributions and to pledge a moratorium on further employment legislation.
The report also called for the task of sourcing job opportunities for professionals to be removed from Jobcentres because they do not have the resources, while there should be increased government funding for apprenticeships and an advisory role for businesses in university course and curriculum provision.
It also urged clarification on the guidelines of the Agency Workers Directive to reduce its impact on employment.
Cox said: “Over the past 10 years there has been an enormous additional legislative burden, which costs money and time and is a distraction that’s been imposed on employers.”
Data from the World Bank indicates that the UK has moved down the labour market flexibility league table from 17th in 2007 to 35th in 2010.