As we draw to the end of the first month of 2018, it would seem a good time to look at what could be happening in the year ahead. I suspect that this year though, the predictions for the recruitment sector are just a little more difficult than in the past because, let’s face it, last year was a fairly unusual one overall. That aside, here are four things that may well have an impact on the recruitment sector, and of course employers and employees, in 2018.
1 – Pay and equality
Unless you have been in hiding for the last few months, you will probably have noticed that there has been a lot of publicity around the gender pay gap. Whatever the reason it is clear that something needs to be done to reduce and then eradicate this problem. The government has moved to force public and private sector employers to examine their workforce to highlight gender issues. The public sector will be reporting on their findings in March and the private sector in April. What the fall out of this will be is yet to be seen, but hopefully either pay parity or solid moves towards it will happen. In April we will also see the National Living Wage increase to £ 7.83 for over 25s. By mid-2018 then it could well be that a fair percentage of workers will feel a little better off at the end of the month.
2 – IR35 and contract work
The IR35 issues continue to rumble on. Some doomsayers predicted flood from public to private sector to avoid the new rules. While that didn’t really seem to have the impact some expected, it did cause problems for some contractors. The rollout of that into the private sector is still on the cards, and as 2018 unfolds, we will probably see more. Hopefully, it will also clarify a little more about what counts, what doesn’t and what the appeal process is. So IR35 is a ‘watch this space’ warning for the moment. We will keep an eye on it.
3 – GDPR
The compliance with General Data Protection Regulation is not just high on the agenda for the employment industry, it is high for everyone in any form of business. The new rules require reporting, compliance and essentially handing control of data back to the person who owns it. As of April 2018 whether you are a client or a candidate you should have perfect clarity on GDPR from your recruiter. If you don’t then it may be time to ask some serious questions.
4 – SAFERJobs
If you don’t know about the SAFERJobs initiative, there is a link here for more information. Essentially it is a multi-agency collaboration between the recruitment industry and law enforcement to ensure that job seekers are treated fairly and to expose unscrupulous operators. We expect this to continue to have even more impact and continue to grow in influence in 2018. We will certainly be fully behind it.
5 – Brexit and political changes
You are probably sick of hearing the word Brexit by now. The probable truth though is that the real impact is likely to occur in the coming year unless things settle down politically and an agreement is reached. Whatever side of the decision to leave you are on, the main concern for employers and employees is the effect on the job market. Some jobs have already moved or are moving to Europe, that much is true. However, unemployment remains very low indeed, and the skills gap is only shrinking slowly, so perhaps there is some sort of balancing at play. Whether that will continue may well depend on the stability of the government and whether they can pull a Brexit rabbit from the hat. To be honest, while Brexit and government problems dominate the news, the fall out from it seems to be having little impact at the moment. Right now, going into 2018, there is a potential for everything from general elections through to a stable year and from reversal of the leave decision through to a clear policy on exiting Europe. After the unpredictable nature of 2017, it would be a brave person who was prepared to predict which way that will all go.
Overall, while it does look like a potentially unpredictable year, the best advice for 2018 is still the same. Get a good recruitment partner who has their eye on the ball and work with them to deal with the year as it rolls out. The more things change, the more stability and strong partners will keep them the same.