What does 2017 have in store for the recruitment industry?

It’s amazing to think 2016 is almost at an end – and what a year it’s been! Brexit has been the headline act in an eventful 12 months for the recruitment industry. The definition of what it means to be ‘self-employed’ has come under scrutiny, and we’ve seen increasing debate on zero-hours contracts and the gender pay gap.

We end 2016 with stories on the rise of AI and the risk robots pose to ‘stealing’ human jobs –  something that was once the stuff of pure science fiction. But jobs for humans, for the time being at least, are on the up. According to the latest Totaljobs Employment Index job applications are up 31%; jobs are up 15% year on year (November 2016); and applications per job are up 14%*.

So what does next year have in store?


Brexit, Brexit, Brexit! A word that barely existed 24 months ago will dominate 2017. Whether we negotiate ‘hard Brexit’, ‘soft Brexit’ or even a ‘grey Brexit’, there’s going to be an impact on how individual companies and organisations recruit – and it’s currently next to impossible to make Brexit predictions with any certainty.

One thing we do know is that Brexit – and the ‘freedom of movement clause’ in particular – will have implications for global talent mobility. The ability for EU citizens to work in the UK, and for UK citizens to work in the EU, is up in the air.

The Apprenticeship Levy

From April 2017 the government will change the way apprenticeships are funded by introducing an ‘Apprenticeship Levy’, which aims to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England. It hopes to fund 3 million Apprenticeships by 2020.

The levy highlights the growing importance the government is attributing to degree qualification alternatives and should hopefully help plug a skills gap acutely felt in some industries, construction chief among them. Employers need to be aware of these changes, as well as the challenges (and opportunities!) they present.

Gender Pay Gap reporting regulations

A landmark moment for equal pay. From April 2017, any business with more than 250 employees will have 12 months to calculate and publish the pay gap between male and female employees.

Last month, totaljobs brought you our own gender pay gap report, revealing nearly a quarter (23%) of women believe men are paid more for carrying out the same job. The research also found that women have typically lower expectations than men when it comes to salary, anticipating £25,468 per annum compared to £32,030 for men – a difference of £6,562.

Totaljobs’ gender pay gap report can be read in full here.

Generation Z enters the workplace

Beyond the obvious question: ‘now we’ve reached Generation Z, what will the next generation be called?!’ employers will need to consider how these new, young employees will change the workplace and the culture within it

If Millennials were thought to be tech savvy, Gen Z has grown up with technology truly imbedded into almost every aspect of their culture. Their arrival could cause disruption to traditional ways of working, presenting both challenges and opportunities, as well as making the rest of us feel particularly old. This could be cause for concern in what is still an ageing workforce – our recent #MillionPoundJamie research showed that age discrimination, whether conscious or unconscious, still exists and is still an issue affecting many jobseekers.

Employee Benefits

Getting creative with employee benefits has been a focus for many employers in 2016. An increasingly diverse workforce requires a diverse range of benefits, such as flexi-time, working from home, and customisable benefits packages. Things are set to get even more creative in 2017 as the nature of what constitutes ‘work’ continues to evolve.

In 2017, there will be:

  • A review of the state pension age by May.
  • Free childcare for three and four-year-olds by September.
  • Pension auto-enrolment by the end of the year, with employers required to automatically pay a percentage of their staff’s salary into a pension scheme.

Although these developments aren’t related to recruitment per se, they could well impact the benefit packages that employers offer.

In so many ways 2016 has been remarkable and if next year brings half as much change, our review of 2017 may well be written by a self-employed robot on an auto-enrolled pension scheme.

You can read the December edition of our Totaljobs Employment Index here.

From all the team at totaljobs, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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