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CIPD releases new in-depth report urging immigration reforms to tackle labour shortage

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

According to the CIPD, which launched a new in-depth report ‘Addressing skills and labour shortages post-Brexit’ based on a survey of more than 2000 employers and focus groups with employers in low-paying sectors, short-term interventions on immigration policy are required to tackle the immediate labour crisis. It finds that most labour and skills shortages currently facing the UK pre-date the pandemic and are therefore unlikely to be resolved by the gradual return to pre-pandemic norms. In response, the CIPD is calling for:

  • A temporary job mobility scheme for young EU nationals to act as a ‘safety valve’ to ease immediate, acute labour shortages.
  • Reform of the Apprenticeship Levy to create a broader, more flexible training levy to boost employer investment in skills.
  • Government to provide £60m to fund a business improvement consultancy service via the Growth Hub network to help more firms invest in new technology and improve their people management and workforce development capability.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development said: “Our research suggests that too often, employers in low-paying sectors see the workforce as a cost to manage down rather than a key value driver to invest in. There’s promising evidence that some employers are getting better at sourcing labour and improving job quality in response to labour shortages. Measures such as providing flexible working arrangements can also help attract and retain people and is an increasing expectation from candidates as we recover from the pandemic.”

“However, changes in business behaviour, people management capability and investment priorities will take time, time that firms who are struggling with acute skill and labour shortages now simply don’t have. In response, there is a strong case for an immediate immigration safety valve to address the rising labour supply challenges some employers are facing. Equally, we hope that the upcoming Chancellor’s spending review recognises the need for improvement in the quality and availability of business support, to pave the way for greater investment in skills, people management capability and technology over the longer term.”

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