How can the global HR services sector take a lead on informing and influencing post pandemic labour market strategies and employment policy? This was one of the discussion points of the World Employment Conference 2022 and is at the heart of creating a future of work that meets the evolving needs and expectations of individuals and employers.
Shifting ingrained public perceptions and making an impact on policy never gets easier – and it is an increasing challenge in an age of populism. But here are five examples of why the input and insight of labour market and employment experts is more important than ever:
- Nuance and change are driving the need for front line labour market expertise – Do we expect too much from governments in terms of effective regulation? This was the question posed by WEC Vice President Charles Cameron at the Brussels conference. One thing for sure is that the role of recruitment, staffing and HR services professionals in explaining the nuances of today’s fast changing labour markets labour market has never been more important. The way forward is to be pro-active in presenting national governments with new solutions to emerging employment and labour market challenges, based on experience “from the ground”.
- Understanding workers aspirations is key to the ‘reskilling revolution’ – “Not all workers want to be re-skilled or up-skilled”. This was an important reality-check from Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. The point was underlined with a vivid sectoral example from Murielle Antille, chairwoman of WEC’s Career Management Network: “In the automotive sector, we need transitions from mechanical engineers to software engineers. But only 5% of workers are up for this change”. Change is hard! As well as providing effective career coaching (not just guidance), we need to ensure that policy makers understand the human aspects that are at play. This is where a people industry like the HR services sector comes into its own.
- Social protection systems must reflect evolving labour market dynamics– Post-pandemic labour market policies must evolve in sync with a fast-moving world of work. Creating 21st century social protection systems that support all workers – irrespective of how they choose to work – is part of this. The priority is also to ensure that existing regulations are fairly and effectively enforced so that a tangible impact is made on informality and the black economy. Social innovation is needed more than ever in the post-pandemic era.
- Collective action is needed to bridge the #futureofwork gap – There is broad consensus around creating a future of work that is based on inclusivity, choice, opportunity, fulfilment, fairness and agility. How to get there is the challenge and the reality is that policy makers (as well as employers and workers) need help in order to make sense of the fast-changing world of work. Ultimately, the end-goal is to build trust with policy-makers and to help make the right decisions going forward.
- The industry’s voice is already more recognised and sought-after– There is a strong platform to build on; the industry’s role is increasingly recognised on the global stage! Positive endorsement for the industry’s role at this year’s World Employment Conference from respected global organisations such as the ILO, OECD and UNHCR is just the latest example. Making change happen on inclusivity, youth employment and on helping displaced workers will drive further recognition. The global industry is also at the forefront of driving economic recovery by enabling employers to access the staff and skills they need to grow through innovative solutions to intensifying shortages.
Bridging the gap between where are now where we want to get to in terms of agile and inclusive labour markets and is a shared mission. Working in genuine partnership with national governments to achieve this is the aim. Let’s take a lead on post-pandemic labour market policies, let’s build some more bridges….