May 18, 2017

CIPD launch manifesto highlighting key areas that need reform

‘Make work good for all’. That is the overarching theme of the CIPD’s ‘Manifesto for Work’, launched at the beginning of May. At the heart of the new manifesto are proposals to improve corporate governance, the quality of people management and investment in and better use of skills.

Published just ahead of the General Election, the manifesto urges the government to ensure work is good for everyone and focuses on several key areas – the publication of pay ratios, additional rights for zero-hours workers and increased investment in adult skills and training. The CIPD says progress in these areas will not only be good for individual careers and wellbeing, but will also lead to an improved economy, improved individual welfare and improved prosperity.

“The world of work and the notion of ‘good work’ must be at the heart of the next Government’s thinking in order to improve trust in business, accelerate economic growth and improve outcomes for Britain’s workforce,” says Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD. “The key to building better businesses and a better economy is dealing with the long-standing challenges that have led us to a point where pay is stagnating, trust in business is declining and there is falling investment in skills.”

Cheese says investing in the skills and development of employees is critical to tackle productivity rates in the UK.

There are some specific areas that the CIPD has highlighted as needing reform. They are:

– a pilot of revised Individual Learning Accounts, designed to encourage people to invest in their own lifelong learning, in collaboration with their employer
– a new voluntary target for 20% of FTSE 350 board level executive directors to be women by 2020 as a stepping stone towards achieving equal gender representation on boards by 2030
– legislation to allow workers on zero-hours contracts to request a minimum number of hours after 12 months of employment
– voluntary human capital reporting standards to encourage more publicly listed companies to provide better information on how they invest in, lead and manage their workforce for the long term
– a ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign, run by the government alongside employers, which would help inform people on the different types of employment status and their associated rights, in order to tackle the lack of knowledge about employment rights in an increasingly fragmented world of work
– widening out the Apprenticeship Levy into a broader training levy to make it more flexible to employers’ skills development requirements

With regards to skills and training in particular, the manifesto places a heavy emphasis on the importance of improving people management capabilities. It also talks about lifelong learning and the need to keep investing in people’s skills, whatever their age. Surveys have shown that employers routinely neglect to upskill older workers. The CIPD would like this trend to end and recommends employers providing access to what it calls ‘a mid-life career MOT’. Aimed at workers aged 50 and over, the CIPD thinks employers and the Government need to do a lot more to ensure older workers are given the same training opportunities as their younger colleagues.