MPs back REC proposals to make the Apprenticeship Levy more flexible to help women get the skills they need to “get on” in the workplace

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has spent a year working with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women and Work to determine measures that will help improve women’s experiences during the recruitment process and improve opportunities to progress in the labour market.

The Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group have today launched a toolkit “How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century” which takes up the REC’s recommendation to broaden the apprenticeship levy to be used as a training and skills levy. Making the levy more flexible will allow many thousands more temporary workers to benefit from training. To improve fairness in recruiting and selecting candidates allowing women more opportunities in the jobs market, the APPG has also recommended the importance of using recruitment agencies affiliated with trade associations like the REC.

Recruitment & Employment Confederation Head of Policy Sophie Wingfield said:

“We are pleased to have worked with the APPG in creating this toolkit for employers. Diversity in the workplace has been proven to lead to better performance for organisations and reducing the pay gap would generate real benefits for the UK economy. Despite this, often unwittingly, organisations are reducing the likelihood of women getting jobs because of outdated recruitment processes.

“To ensure a step-change in diversity, employers need to take action to mitigate against bias. Key to this is reviewing hiring procedures and updating each stage of the recruitment process.  Amending job adverts to avoiding gendered language, and ensuring you’ve considered flexible working from the outset are just two examples that can help employers increase the number of women at application stage.

“The toolkit also highlights the benefit of working with recruitment industry trade association members. REC members all adhere to a code of professional conduct in which diversity is a core principle. Recruitment professionals are well placed to advise employers on how best they can make change happen.”

Jess Phillips MP, Co-Chair of the Women and Work APPG said:

“If employers are to successfully hire and attract the best, diverse talent, they need to take recruitment seriously and review their processes. This toolkit encourages employers and policy-makers to make those changes, giving practical steps that will go some way in shifting persistent obstacles that women face when entering and re-entering the labour market.”

Gillian Keegan MP, Co-Chair of the Women and Work APPG said:

“I’m really pleased that the Women and Work APPG examined recruitment during 2018 to highlight ways to overcome the particular barriers faced by women. We have published this call for action to employers, to encourage them to think differently about how, where and who they hire, as part of open and inclusive recruitment process. We’ve also called on government to support employers to do this.”

Commenting on the APPG’s adoption of the REC’s recommendation to broaden the apprenticeship levy into a skills levy that can be accessed by temporary workers, Sophie Wingfield said:

“The APPG adopting our recommendation to broaden the apprenticeship levy into a training and skills levy that can be used to train temporary workers is a good step forward to allowing women to progress their chosen careers. Our report, Getting On, showed that what temporary workers in key female dominated sectors, such as care, wanted most is access to training to help them “get on”.

“A flexible levy would also help more women to access jobs in key sectors that are finding it difficult to find the staff that they need. This mirrors the core recommendation from the REC’s Future of Jobs commission which said changes to the levy will benefit employers and ultimately the HM Treasury through productivity gains.”

The REC is urging the Government and employers to take note of the recommendations of the report, many of which build on our recent report Increasing Opportunity, supporting growth: the role of good recruitment in gender diversity, to improve the job prospects and career progression for women.

Read REC Getting on: what progression looks like for low-paid workers today. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), a sponsor for the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), provided support for the group’s How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century toolkit.

The Women and Work APPG was constituted at the beginning of 2016 in response to the increasing public and political focus on the role of women in the workforce, and the acknowledgement from Government that the UK economy underuses women’s talents and misses out on a “huge economic prize”. The APPG provides a forum to constructively examine and debate the role that policy makers can play to deliver gender balance within the economy. It also allows Members of Parliament and interested stakeholders to examine the responsibilities of employers and explore what more is required from the private, public and third sectors to deliver the Government’s ambitions for women and work.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) launched a research report – Increasing opportunity, supporting growth: the role of good recruitment in gender diversity. It’s a how-to guide for recruiters and employers on best practice recruiting to increase gender equality in the workplace. 

The Good Recruitment Campaign helps organisations benchmark their current recruitment methods and reinvigorate their strategies in order to attract the right candidate. With direct access to a large network of HR/In-house recruitment professionals, those involved can benefit from workshops, conferences, peer-reviews, self-assessment tools, and key pieces of data that will help their business reach new heights in talent acquisition. 

The REC Code of Professional Practice has been created in consultation with members and industry stakeholders to ensure that all members of the REC conduct their businesses ethically, to the highest standards and promote good practice. It is binding on all corporate members. 

The REC is all about brilliant recruitment, which drives our economy and delivers opportunity to millions. As the voice of the recruitment industry, we champion high standards, speak up for great recruiters, and help them grow. Recruitment is a powerful tool for companies and candidates to build better futures for themselves and a strong economy for the UK.

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