If the UK is to remain competitive in the post-pandemic world, we first have some issues to address in our labour market. A new all-party parliamentary group is seeking input from HR professionals to help tackle these challenges.

Following the pandemic, the battle for talent has never been more fierce. The knock-on effects are still being felt here in the UK labour market, which currently has high vacancy levels and low unemployment figures.

As the country begins to tackle the significant challenges ahead, a strategic and collaborative approach must be taken to seize the opportunities that exist. In response, a new APPG (All Party-Parliamentary Group) has been created in Westminster with parliamentarians, peers, and industry experts striving to make the UK labour market the most attractive globally and resolve big strategic problems.

Never has it been more important to drive digital, flexible ways of working and hiring. 

A cross-party commitment to change

The APPG on Modernising Employment focuses on three important things: the future nature of jobs, digital hiring, and improving labour market standards for all. It is both pro-growth and pro-worker. 

The group aims to make UK hiring the fastest globally by harnessing technology and innovation to ensure people and companies can literally hire anywhere. 

Within the APPG committee are ministers from both major political parties, and a member of the House of Lords, alongside experts in UK employment. 

The global hunt for talent

Not only are companies battling for talent against their competitors, but industries are now competing against other industries, and countries are competing against countries. 

In our hybrid world of work, why should firms create jobs in the UK versus working from digital nomad villages globally? 

The battle for talent has become far more global, and far more about the attractiveness overall of countries and their labour markets.

With a shortfall in available talent in the UK, companies want to maximise their hiring potential, with many offering work anytime, anywhere principles. To truly do this, however, it is essential that the UK modernises hiring, making it the fastest globally, as well as reducing barriers and improving inclusion. 

Better hiring for everyone

Behind the APPG is the Better Hiring Institute, a social enterprise developed between government and industry during the pandemic, which has been leading industry and government collaboration to support big changes to UK policy.

Its work on digital right-to-work policy has led to meetings with ministers, appearances in House of Commons debates, and running large industry-led parliamentary briefings. It has championed vital changes to digital right-to-work and criminal record checks, to name just two initiatives. 

Many barriers remain in hiring that could so easily be removed, such as the reported one in five job seekers who cannot utilise the digital right-to-work system as they don’t have an in-date British or Irish passport, in effect making them second-class work seekers. 

The Institute has also developed a 10 Point Plan to make hiring faster, fairer, and safer. This includes reimagining hiring for young people, calling for changes to the way jobs are advertised to help over 50s, long-term unemployed, and many more groups get back into work, and hosting regular online events with the government.

HR professionals can help drive change

The APPG is essential for any HR professional as it is an opportunity to be involved in shaping the future with the government, and also with over 6000 other organisations to help transform the UK labour market. 

Including physical meetings in parliament, online events, and research and guidance, the APPG is a great way for HR professionals to broaden their knowledge and skills, build connections, and impact the future of the UK labour market. 

It is an important way for HR professionals to stay ahead with the latest proposals and changes to hiring and working, to be first movers and influence change. 

So much depends on how we shape the future UK labour market. It has the potential to transform ailing high streets with new co-working spaces, and it could provide the flexibility that so many desire.

Recent figures have shown that nearly one in five UK adults over 50 were deterred from applying for new jobs because of a lack of flexible working opportunities.

Imagine the difference it could make if this were to be addressed?

A fair labour market for all

There are key questions to be answered such as how flexible work should be in future, how could work anywhere transform our regions and high streets, and how can so many people outside of the labour market be helped back?

So much depends on how we shape the future UK labour market. It could provide the flexibility that so many desire.

The Chair of the APPG is Labour MP for Hull, Emma Hardy, who said: “Modernising employment and hiring is essential to maximising good job opportunities for all, to make best use of the available talent in the UK, and to promote regions of the UK as destinations for workers to work flexibly and remotely. 

“This is essential to unlocking the full potential of the UK and of places such as Hull that can be transformed as innovative work locations for our new age of working.”

As well as the hiring and work revolution, building a fair labour market for all is critical. Based on the platformisation of work as we move to a new labour market, how do we ensure hiring and work are fair and inclusive for everyone, whilst making the UK labour market the most attractive globally? 

The APPG is championing smarter regulatory systems, especially in the gig economy and company supply chains. 

How you can help

HR professionals have a key responsibility to ensure their supply chains are ethical and the workers within them are treated well. As digitisation drives changes to employment models and supply chain platforms it is important we balance innovation, boosting economic growth, with appropriate safeguards for workers.

Joining the Better Hiring Institute and the APPG is free, and we’d love to hear from HR professionals who are passionate about driving change and making hiring better for everyone. We truly believe that the cost of not collaborating to create the world’s most attractive labour market could be enormous.

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