BEIS Committee Enquiry into Skills and Worker Shortages in the UK’s Labour Market

At the end of May 2022, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) has commenced an inquiry into the UK’s labour market to look at the skills and worker shortages restraining the post-pandemic economic recovery.

As part of the Committee’s broad Post-Pandemic Economic Growth inquiry, MPs will examine the challenges faced by workers and employers, and what the government and companies can do to support the labour market.

The Committee Chair and MP, Darren Jones, said “the latest ONS figures show there’s more vacancies than people to fill them for the first time, acting as a brake on our prosperity.

“Recovering from the shock of the pandemic was never going to be easy, and it is made more difficult by the effects of an aging population and changes in migration.

“To give us the best possible chance we must make sure we have the right workers, with the right skills, in the right places. That’s why we’ve launched an inquiry into what employers need to accelerate the recovery, what workers need for their own stability and growth, and how new technology can be harnessed in a fair and productive economy.”

Those who wish to contribute to the inquiry can submit evidence until 8 July 2022 by answering questions on the following key themes.

  • The state of play in the UK labour market post Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on recruitment, skills shortages and the growth of the labour market.
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology in the workplace, including how the government can protect workers from jobs being lost to AI.
  • Improving workers’ rights since Brexit and the pandemic.
  • Employment status and modern working practices, such as flexible working and the gig economy, five years on from the Taylor Review.
  • The impact of an ageing population on the labour market and the barriers facing older people in the workplace.

Contributors are asked to consider issues such as the effective use of apprentices to recruit people with the right skills, the effect of Long Covid on economic inactivity due to long-term sickness absences and early retirement, and what the new statutory code to prevent employers using fire and rehire tactics should include (recently announced by the government in response to the P&O Ferries situation).

Whether any changes will be made as a result of the inquiry remains to be seen, but for now, we will keep an eye on developments.

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