What gets measured

How do we measure ‘good work’? asks Tom Hadley, REC director of policy and professional services

The UK jobs markets continues to defy gravity and remains remarkably robust, with record employment levels and falling unemployment. At the same time, the increasing focus on quality as well as quantity of jobs will continue to intensify. 

Re-evaluating the way we measure ‘good work’ and the overall success of the UK jobs market is an opportunity to showcase the pivotal role of recruitment and employment professionals.

The need to find new ways of measuring job quality was a core message of the REC’s Future of Jobs commission and is at the heart of a report launched last month (September) by the Carnegie Trust. It was also a key recommendation in Matthew Taylor’s review into modern working practices. So what does ‘good work’ look like? Taylor defined it as: ‘work that is fair and decent, with realistic scope for development and fulfilment’. On all of these measures, recruitment professionals can make a positive impact.

Our industry is predicated on helping find a job, then find a better job. Good work is also about how a job makes people feel. Doing the right thing in terms of compliance and worker rights is part of this; as is the ability to match the right people to the right job in the first place. Agencies also provide a crucial outlet for individuals; examples include providing Employee Assistance Programmes for temporary staff or taking forward issues raised by workers with end-users. 

Driving ‘good work’ in specific industries will also help attract people into sectors such as hospitality, logistics and care, which face major staffing challenges. We will feed into sectoral initiatives through specialist REC sector groups. Looking at the longer term, recruitment professionals can become ‘Future of Jobs ambassadors’ by spreading the good recruitment message and helping future generations navigate the changing world of work.

As the saying goes, what gets measured gets done. What gets measured also gets recognised. Feeding into hugely topical debates around progression, good work and job quality measurement are a great example of the recruitment and employment sector driving social innovation and helping to build one of the most inclusive and dynamic jobs market in the world. Recruiters make good work happen; we need to be proactive in telling our story and explaining how. 

You can follow Tom on Twitter @hadleyscomment

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