In advance of the main party conferences, the CIPD is calling for the next UK Government to develop a long-term workforce strategy to underpin a broader, bolder vision for economic growth.
This is a central message in its new ‘Manifesto for Good Work’ which outlines the public policy changes needed to address the UK’s multiple challenges, for all the main UK political parties. These challenges include stagnating productivity, rising skills shortages and our ageing working population.
The manifesto argues that a joined-up workforce strategy, underpinned by three core themes - Skilled work, Healthy work and Fair work – is needed to tackle these issues, while supporting the country’s transition to net zero.
It also calls for a package of public policy reforms to support this new workforce strategy across a range of linked policy areas including; skills, innovation, business support, digital adoption, immigration and labour market enforcement.
The CIPD’s recommendations include:
- Develop a revitalised approach to industrial strategy with a broader focus on improving job quality, innovation and productivity across all sectors of the economy.
- Establish a high-quality, locally delivered business support service for SMEs to boost investment in skills development and people management capability and support digital adoption and green transition.
- Reform the failing Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible skills levy to boost employer investment in technical skills and free up more funding to invest in apprenticeships for young people.
- Improve the protection of workers’ health and rights through the creation of a well-resourced single enforcement body (SEB) with a stronger focus on improving employer compliance with the law and raising overall employment standards.
- Ensure the Health and Safety Executive has the resources to ensure employers meet their existing legal duty to prevent and manage stress at work, both in workplaces and when people work remotely.
- Establish a taskforce on AI and the workplace to consider and where necessary recommend changes to employment regulation in light of fast-moving developments in AI and potential risks to workers’ health and employment rights.
- Reform Statutory Sick Pay by making it payable from day one of absence, raising the rate to the equivalent of the National Living Wage and making it more flexible to support phased returns to work.
- Tackle discrimination at work by bringing responsibility for enforcing workers’ rights under the Equality Act 2010 within the remit of a properly resourced Single Enforcement Body.
- Increase statutory paternity leave to six weeks at or near the full rate of pay, to help deliver more balance and choice for working parents over how to manage caring responsibilities.
- Review and reform Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to boost uptake by enhancing the statutory provision and simplifying the process for both working parents and employers.
- Require employers to include basic pay and pension information in job adverts to improve reward transparency and help reduce pay and pension gaps.
Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:
“It’s essential the next UK Government sets out a bolder, long-term vision for economic growth to raise job quality, innovation and productivity across all sectors. Achieving this requires an inclusive industrial strategy for growth, and a strategy for jobs and good work, together with skills support and investment in the UK workforce to meet the opportunities and demands for the future. There is also the need to understand and support the just transition to net zero, but also a just transition as we see the growing impact of AI on jobs and skills.
“We must also fundamentally reform our labour market enforcement system so that it can genuinely protect the health and rights of workers and play a stronger role in helping raise overall employment standards and the wellbeing of our workforce. Supporting the development of more flexible and inclusive working practices across the economy will help improve fairness of opportunity and labour market participation for everyone.
“We look forward to working together with our members and our partners in promoting these principles into policy, bringing evidence into practice, and helping shape a positive future of work in these challenging times.”
To support its central call on the need to improve firms’ people management capability and help boost productivity, the CIPD has also published a new report looking at UK productivity growth and people management practices. The People management and productivity report is published here: www.cipd.org/uk/knowledge/reports/people-management-productivity