Recruiters should offer flexible working option as “standard”

Esther McVey chaired the REC's Future of Jobs commission
Bruce Adams/Associated Newspapers/REX/Shutterstock

Flexible working options should be a standard offering in new roles if employers and recruiters are to meet the challenges of the labour market.

That is one of a number of recommendations made in the concluding publication of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s Future of Jobs Commission, chaired by former employment minister Esther McVey.

The report says employers need to act now 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 over the next seven years. At the same time, Government policy must be geared to prepare for “seismic” changes in the world of work.

Recommendations included:

  • Hirers should engage with schools, colleges and universities to provide real-world, practical advice and help young people be better prepared;
  • Employers should be more creative in their recruitment, offering flexible work as standard and removing barriers for under-represented groups, for example by using collaborative hiring or name-blind recruitment;
  • The Government should create a new Employment and Skills Advisory Committee to review data and take evidence to help it plan investment in training, and immigration policy;
  • Policy-makers should 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.

Big challenges are around the corner, according to the report, which mean business as usual is not an option. The UK’s labour market will continue to ‘hollow out’ with mid-skill jobs declining in many sectors, sometimes exacerbated by automation.

Baby boomers’ decline as a percentage of the workforce will be offset by the growing influence of younger generations who place a higher value on flexibility, work-life balance and personal development. The report adds that Brexit and its aftermath will profoundly affect candidate availability by altering the types and numbers of foreign workers from the EU.

McVey 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”.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “By 2025 we want good work to be the norm, where businesses champion diversity and inclusion and invest in training and skills development for all staff, no matter what kind of contract they are on.

“We need to foster a labour market where anyone can both find work and progress within work, irrespective of their background.”

3 Responses to Recruiters should offer flexible working option as “standard”

  1. Avatar
    Jim 20 Oct 2017 at 12:21 am #

    Had an op the other day – the anesthetist was on flexible working and went home half way through to do the school run. It was a bit uncomfortable after that, but not too bad really.
    Esther McVey has such insight – this has to be the way forward if we are to weather difficult times ahead.

  2. Avatar
    Brian Kent 20 Oct 2017 at 9:32 am #

    Oh Dear Oh Dear ! – WHEN are you ‘experts’ going to realise that it has nothing to do with the broken debased ‘recruitment industry’ ………..

    Corporate and Industrial Leaders carry Ultimate responsibility !!!!!!

  3. Avatar
    Brian Marsh 24 Oct 2017 at 9:44 am #

    This just shows how out of touch some industries are with each other. We would love to offer “flexible working” to all of our employees but being in manufacturing if the employee is not at his or her machine producing something no-one gets paid. Likewise, if that machine isn’t running 24hrs a day, no-one gets paid. Offering flexible working is not an option and saying it should be offered to all employees shows a level of naivety or ignorance that is staggering.

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