Recruitment chiefs have urged a swift resolution to the uncertainty hanging over the UK after the inconclusive election result this morning.
Leaders of trade bodies the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) called for an agreement to be reached quickly on who would form the next government.
Although Theresa May’s Conservatives won the most seats in the snap election, they fell short of the majority required to govern, leaving a hung Parliament. Unless a deal is struck to create a coalition majority, as it was in 2010, there could be another election in the near future.
REC CEO Kevin Green said this morning: “Uncertainty creates a vacuum so we urge the politicians to reach an agreement quickly and to prioritise prosperity and jobs.”
APSCo operations director Samantha Hurley added: “It is unfortunate that this result does not offer the level of stability that the UK desperately needs.
“The impact of this result on both the permanent and flexible labour markets has the potential to be significant.”
Julia Kermode, CEO of The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), wants to see the political parties co-operating and working together to bring economic security.
“Brexit has left the UK facing enough uncertainty and today’s result will have added to that insecurity,” she said, but she would urge the next government to put employment and self-employment issues at the top of the agenda to create that all-important stability.
“During uncertain times we know that freelancers and contractors are key to the economy and they need to be allowed to work and thrive without the shackles of red tape and burdensome legislation that holds them back.
“There are some 4.8m self-employed freelancers, contractors, interims and consultants choosing to work self-employed in the UK today. What’s more, flexible workers can hit the ground running to be available to businesses on an ‘as needs basis’ and MPs should recognise that such workers are key to keeping the economy steady as we face a turbulent time ahead.”
Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC), also calls for flexible work to be on the agenda, urging the government to “create an environment that is attractive to both internal and external investors. One of the conditions for that will be suitable flexibility in the workforce”.
He added: “As debate about future direction evolves, there is an opportunity to influence the new government. The Taylor Review is due to report this summer, and its outcome is likely to bear strongly on our sector. To help ensure that the recruitment industry is not side-lined there needs to be unity behind a single, strong voice that calls for a modern and progressive vision for labour relations.”
The REC and APSCo called for MPs to listen to recruiters.
Green said the REC would work hard over the coming months to build links with MPs, whatever shape the government looks like.
“Whoever takes the reins must front up quickly to challenges including the imminent Brexit negotiations, which will shape the jobs market over the next decade,” he said.
“The UK has labour, skill and talent shortages and the evidence points to the situation getting worse before it gets better.
“Recruiters are jobs market experts, and we will urge policy-makers to collaborate with the REC and our members to build the best jobs market in the world.”
Hurley said the next government should be “especially careful” to avoid knee-jerk changes to taxes, employment regulations or visa controls as the UK leaves the EU.
“Ever since the phrase ‘gig economy’ was coined, media attention has consistently focused on lower-skilled and lower-paid workers and we are absolutely determined to ensure that the new government recognises that professional independent flexible talent is not only a completely distinctive group within the gig economy but that it also has a critical role to play in the future success of the UK plc.
“We hope the new administration will be open to working closely with us to ensure collateral damage is kept to a minimum.”
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