What does a Hung Parliament mean for Recruitment?

15th June 2017
Geoff Collings

Following on from last Thursday’s general election, the UK is potentially in a period of great uncertainty. With the Conservative party failing to gain a majority and therefore forming a minority government with the DUP, we find ourselves with a hung parliament and the world will be watching with interest how the next few weeks and months pan out.

But what does a hung parliament mean in terms of recruitment and employment?

Uncertainty?

Obviously the biggest worry for the UK markets and economy is the uncertainty that a hung parliament will surely bring. The stock market does not react well to uncertainty, and this will have an impact on the permanent recruitment market. Organisations may be wary of taking on new employees until things seem a little more stable.

Furthermore, as part of a hung parliament, the Conservative party may find it harder to push forward with their key manifesto pledges. These included:

  • Better rights for workers within the gig economy.
  • A year’s unpaid carer’s leave and two weeks’ paid leave for parents who have lost a child.
  • Extending pay gap reporting to include companies’ ethnicity pay gaps.
  • A guarantee that workers’ rights would be protected during the Brexit negotiations.
  • Measures to protect pensions.
  • Improved worker representation on company boards.
  • Protection against discrimination protection for workers with shorter-term mental health conditions.

Many trade unions and worker representatives are calling for the government to push ahead with what has been promised. It is being said that in times of uncertainty, it is best to make sure that workers have as much stability as possible. This in turn should aid the economy.

Positivity?

Having said this, there are some reasons to be positive. During times of uncertainty, freelancers and contractors tend to thrive. This could mean that there is a trend towards temporary working contracts. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for both employees and organisations.

There are approximately 4.8 million self-employed freelancers, contractors, interims and consultants in the UK. For organisations, freelancers and temporary workers can offer experience and knowledge without the need for NI contributions, holiday pay, sickness pay and maternity / paternity pay. For employees, interim contracts can often offer flexibility and a chance to gain a wealth of different experiences.

Furthermore, due to the DUP’s interest in a soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, there is hope of a soft Brexit. This will be good news to many organisations based in the UK, as it will allow them to continue trading relatively easily with companies on the continent. If firms in the UK feel positive about the future, they will start to invest in recruitment again.

It would therefore seem that it’s not all doom and gloom going forward. Hopefully once the dust settles, there will be positive outcomes for the UK’s companies, economy and workforce.