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Trade association outlines policy changes needed to ease the talent crisis

by uma

With the UK continuing to struggle with talent shortages and the elusive Employment Bill yet to be revealed, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has outlined the critical policy developments that are needed if the country is to build and sustain a global, flexible workforce.

In its latest policy recommendations – which are being shared with MPs and Government officials – APSCo has highlighted the key policy changes needed, including:

Further review of ways to ensure the UK has a labour market fit for the future, including access to international, high-skilled, independent workers that will help to fill UK skills gaps across the economy.
Maximising opportunities for a global trade in services, with trade deals facilitating mutual recognition of standards and regulation.
Maintaining international standards whilst facilitating the frictionless storing and processing of data in the UK and internationally for UK businesses.

Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo commented:

“The continued skills shortages that are being felt across the UK won’t disappear without appropriate action. It’s clear that there are simply not enough resources to fill the hiring needs of the country’s employers and if the UK is to remain an economic powerhouse, greater Government intervention is needed to ensure businesses can access a global and flexible labour market. We welcomed the recent launch of the Global Business Mobility visas, however, the sponsorship requirement makes the route for independent contractors less viable. The Government has effectively rolled over its existing multi-national trade obligation to offer a visa for self-employed independent professionals into the Service Supplier route, offering no new flexibility. Unfortunately, this will not plug the short to medium term skills gap as the UK looks to up-skill and re-skill the UK. The Government should ensure that discussions and agreements on trade deals focus on skills, the workforce and the mutual recognition of services and professional qualifications as well as tariffs and goods.

“The value of the recruitment and outsourcing industries in the UK is underpinned by their ability to securely store and process the personal data of candidates and clients. Many APSCo and APSCo OutSource members are international organisations and rely on the frictionless transfer of data between the UK, EU, USA, Asia and the rest of the world to drive their productivity. Therefore, it is vital that the Data Reform Bill maintains standards and builds a platform for frictionless, cyber-secure transfer of data between countries.

“We are facing a period of continued uncertainty – exacerbated by the record level of vacancies being reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). If the UK is to thrive post-Brexit and Covid, we need policy makers to look at the global opportunities and ensure the UK’s professional recruitment industry continues to be a global skills export success story.”

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