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Access to employment

Image showing risk types in global supply chains

November 2017

The past decade has seen arguably the greatest shift in employment models for a generation. Technology has in part driven a de-centralisation in employment in a way not seen since the mass-privatisations of the 1980s in the UK.

Back then we saw public sector employment peak at over 7m in 1979; just a decade later this had fallen to less than 5.8m and would carry on falling until the turn of the century1.

Fast-forward, and instead of a move from public to private sector, we’ve seen a huge shift towards self-employment in the UK. Since the turn of the century, the number of self-employed has soared by 43% to the start of 20162, with the latest ONS figures estimating 4.85m people in the UK as being self-employed, making up over 15% of all employment3.

And more change is coming – Brexit will see the introduction of new immigration policies, as yet unknown. The new Immigration Bill, announced in the 2017 Queen’s Speech, is designed to allow the UK ‘to control the number of people coming here from Europe while still allowing us to attract the brightest and best.’

With forecasts suggesting4 that there will be over 4 million more high-skilled jobs in the UK than workers by 2024, how will both new immigration policies and increased training and skills-development help to plug this gap?

Will new immigration rules help or hinder? Currently over 2 million migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) are employed in high-skilled jobs or are qualified to degree-level or above, meaning restrictive policies in this area could exacerbate the forecast skills gap.

Along with new regulations on everything from apprenticeships to the National Living Wage, employers are facing a range of pressures. This report seeks to explore some of the key areas of concern that our clients have spoken to us about, and seeks to share some of our expertise around key trends and pressures on employment:

  1. Technology driving self-employment
  2. Access to employment – apprenticeships and the skills gap
  3. Cost pressures and benefits of the Living Wage
  4. Immigration – Brexit Bites?

Everything we know for certain about Brexit.

Our economist, Henk Potts, speaks about how central bank policy can help control inflation and what impact it could have on consumer confidence.

1Bank of England - A millennium of macroeconomic data – table A51
2ONS - Trends in self-employment in the UK: 2001 to 2015
3ONS - UK labour market: September 2017
4Local Government Association