With the election getting closer and closer, we have been thinking about how each party’s policies will affect the world of recruitment. Each seems to promise an endless supply of jobs and the potential of a rising wage, but is it all smoke and mirrors? We take a look at how the big three parties will approach employment issues and what they are promising should we vote in their favour.
David Cameron’s optimistic ideas for the employment sector would bring the United Kingdom to what’s known as ‘effective full employment’, offering a job to “everyone who wants one”. The current Prime Minister states that by 2020, his government would help businesses create two million new jobs, bringing the UK in line with Germany and Japan.
How the Conservatives are planning to implement this ideology revolves around a change of infrastructure, cutting down job taxes and backing business as a whole. Cameron also says the latest treasury figures suggest Britain could potentially overtake Canada in terms of employment rates, on course to reach over 72% employment by the second quarter.
These figures, together with the cited increase in jobs and the promise of a job for everyone who wants to work, could spell a significant rise in the need for quality recruiters. Having said that, there are figures to suggest this plan is simply repairing damage already caused by the Conservative government. Under Cameron, there has been a 44% increase in the number of people earning below the living wage. So although more jobs means more people working, it could well be for less money than they need simply to survive.
If David Cameron wins the election, recruiters will have to be on their toes and recruitment roles could entail helping people into first-time work. If there is indeed an influx of jobs then this will mean a significant rise in candidates who must be managed and vacant jobs which must be filled with skilled and talented people. The UK is certainly feeling the pressure of a skills shortage, and with retraining becoming more popular, a career change could be in order for those who wish to apply for one of the two million jobs promised under a Conservative government.
Labour’s biggest initiative in terms of employment centres on the zero hours contract debate. Currently, people on zero hour contracts are paid by the hour with no fixed salary or holiday benefits, meaning they are less protected from workplace changes. Ed Miliband has said that those on zero hour contracts will be able to make a request to move to contracted employment should they have dealt with 12 weeks of uncontracted hours; previous Labour policy was to allow such workers a normal contract after they have worked their position for 12 months.
There are 1.8million people in the UK currently working under zero hour contracts, four times as many as in 2010. While initially zero hour contracts helped to keep people in work throughout the recession, many companies are choosing to keep this style of contract in spite of a recovering economy. If Ed Miliband is successful in the election, it may mean companies need to rethink these contracts and whether they wish to eradicate the option of zero hours entirely. Recruitment agencies as a result would most probably see an influx of interest in industries previously confined to zero hour contracts.
Nick Clegg’s suggestions to decrease the UK’s deficit include a plan to abolish tax breaks for workers who give up their employment rights and a continuation of the 1% cap on working-age benefit rises.
Nick Clegg is also putting focus onto creating apprenticeship schemes in order to promote the idea of retraining or developing existing skills. He also wishes to place more investment in the sectors that do lack talent, such as manufacturing and IT, in order to build a more hi-tech country of workers able to move with the changes in technology. This is particularly interesting for recruiters who specialise, or work in, these sectors.
Whichever party wins the general election, there will be changes both to employment and therefore recruitment. And with so much potential for growth, it is an exciting time for both!