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Employment News for 2020 - Your questions answered

Welcome to 2020 readers old and new! I am just popping with excitement for not only is it an exciting New Year but also a nice shiny new decade. 

Today I opened my brand new ‘start of a decade’ worthy notebook, carefully smoothed out the crease in the binding, brushed my hand over the crisp, sparkling white first page and sighed with a kind of contentment that only a stationery buff can fully appreciate before commencing my research and copious note writing for this first post of the year. 

The internet is positively buzzing with the predicted employment news for 2020, possible recruitment trends and the upcoming employment law changes that are expected to come into force. There is so much information that it actually is difficult to know where to look first. 

After falling down a few internet rabbit holes of information with no clue how to come back to where I started, I decided to change my approach and bring you the employment news of 2020 instead by answering the questions that we should all be asking before we begin to make our career plans for the new year.

Q1: Will employers be actively recruiting more staff in 2020?

In short, yes! 2020 is destined to be a year of concentrated staff procurement as 94% of employers1 expect their organisations activity levels to increase or stay the same this year and a third of them admitting that they don’t have the talent needed to achieve their current objectives. 

Q2: What industries will be hiring staff in 2020?

While all industries will be taking an active stance on recruitment for 2020, the bulk of the hiring will be done within the Life Sciences, Human Resources and Construction & Property industries. For those of us who took one look at the words Life Sciences and wondered what on earth that is; it is the scientific study of life and organisms. Jobs would include Clinical Research, Scientist, Pharmacist and Research Assistant.

Q3: What type of staff will employers be recruiting for? 

  • 55% will be taking on permanent staff.
  • 30% will be hiring temporary staff.
  • The remaining 15% appear to be unspecified with no defined staff type in mind.

Q4: Why are employers set to hire more temporary staff in 2020?

  •  68% of employers will hire temporary staff to meet peak demands.
  • 29% of employers will hire temporary staff to access specific skills.
  • 27% of employers will hire temporary staff to cover long term leave.
  • 20% of employers hire temporary staff because they experience difficulty in finding permanent staff.
  • 19% of employers will hire temporary staff to ensure they have flexibility over staffing costs. 

Q5: Will salaries increase in 2020?

In order to look ahead we need to reflect on the salary increases gone by. On average, salaries have been increasing, albeit slowly across all industries in recent years but some industries have seen better increases than others. 

Both the Engineering and Manufacturing industry and the Legal and Company Secretarial industries have seen the biggest average salary increases of 2.6% across all roles. While on the lower end of the scale the Marketing and Insurance industries have seen the lowest average increase of just 1.1% across all roles. 

Aside from the currently undefined (thanks to Brexit) but expected increase in Minimum and Living Wage rates, the industry imbalance and rate of increase is unlikely to change all that much in 2020. Instead, employers are likely be looking to make their employment packages as a whole more appealing to workers by including things like accelerated training opportunities, flexible working hours, remote working opportunities and more enjoyable working environments to name just a few of the anticipated perks. 

Q6: What can workers expect from their employers in 2020?

In recent years we have watched in eager anticipation as salary and success pale in significance as the main employee motivators and a demand for job satisfaction, achievement, balance and wellness comes to the forefront. It has been a gradual turn in tide, but there is no doubt that we are finally seeing what can happen when workers all over the world join together and collectively echo one another’s desire for having it all; a successful career where emphasis is placed on their unique value, their skills and the notable difference they make, as well as a full life of family, friends, experiences and adventure. This worker centric outlook is not only going to be recognised by more employers, but emphatically supported as recruiters begin to realise that workers with the talent and skills they need most are no longer going to be enticed with just a great salary, they quite rightly expect and deserve so much more. 

Q7: What are the top 3 changes in Employment Law that I need to know for 2020?

It is not only how workers and employers view and approach the employment industry that is on the move, various updates and changes in employment law2 are also lined up for this coming year, some of which are long overdue.

1. Parental Bereavement Law

The Parental Leave and Bereavement Act 2018 has now received Royal Assent and is expected to come into force this year. The act will give all employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a still birth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, the right to two weeks’ leave and statutory parental bereavement pay providing they meet the eligibility criteria. 

2. End of the Swedish Derogation

The Swedish Derogation is an opt out clause for agency workers. By law, after 12 weeks continuous service, an agency worker is entitled to the same level of pay as a permanent worker unless they choose to opt out of this right under ‘Swedish Derogation’. Instead they receive a guaranteed level of pay between their temporary assignments. This ‘opt out’ option is set to be removed in April 2020 and pay is to be equalised for both temporary and permanent staff. 

3. Statement of basic terms

From April 2020 both permanent and temporary workers will have the right to receive a written document setting out their basic contractual terms. Previously, permanent employees would receive a statement of basic terms within two months or beginning their employment. Under this new reform employers will be required to make this available to all staff within one day of employment commencing. 

There are many more Employment Law changes happening in April this year thanks to the Good Work Plan 2018 and nearer the time I will be writing a whole post dedicated to explaining what the changes are, what they mean to you and what you need to do next, so watch this space!

There is no doubt that 2020 is set to be a pivotal year in the world of employment for both workers and employers alike. If the employment news we are seeing already is anything to go by, this year is on course to set the pace for the employment landscape of the future. 

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1 Hays UK Salary & recruiting Trends 2020 [PDF] Access to document request by Calibre Marketing. 

Emplaw Online [Internet] 4th November 2019


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