Response to Future of Work report

Following the recent publication of the Report for the Future of Work Commission – which was initiated by Tom Watson MP and assesses the impact that automation and artificial intelligence will have on UK jobs – Tania Bowers, General Counsel at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), comments:

“As a trade body for professional recruiters, many of which supply into STEM sectors, we appreciate the recognition in the report of technological advances in the work place and the subsequent need to invest in skills training. We also recognise the importance of quality work as a key driver for the economy and we know that professional contracting offers good work to individuals and drives productivity in the economy.”

“However, we are concerned that the report recommends working towards just one category of ‘worker’ for enjoying employment protection in UK law. The report advises that any change in national insurance or tax contributions by the self-employed should go hand in hand with these new rights and safeguards, but many professional contractors simply don’t want or need these protections.”

“The report does not differentiate between vulnerable workers who are forced into false self-employment and those incorporated professional contractors who operate in the professional STEM market. We do recognise the need for professional contractors to be in a financial and legal position to provide for their pensions, sick pay and holiday pay, particularly if there is a political push for greater numbers of these incorporated contractors to be taxed as deemed employees. However, this must not be at the expense of flexibility in the labour market.”

“We also refute the suggestion that the rise in atypical working and self-employment has been ‘largely the result of the UK tax system’. The senior professionals our members place choose to work flexibly for a variety of different reasons.”

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