MPs have backed proposals to make the apprenticeship levy more flexible, to help women get the skills they need to “get on” in the workplace.
Recommendations to broaden the apprenticeship levy, to be used as a training and skills levy, have been taken up by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women and Work.
The APPG has launched a toolkit, How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century, to improve fairness in recruiting and selecting candidates - allowing women more opportunities in the jobs market.
The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) spent a year working with the APPG, to determine measures that will help improve women’s experiences during the recruitment process and improve opportunities to progress in the labour market.
REC said that making the levy more flexible will allow many thousands more temporary workers to benefit from training.
Sophie Wingfield, REC’s head of policy, said: “Diversity in the workplace has been proven to lead to better performance for organisations and reducing the pay gap would generate real benefits for the UK economy. Despite this, often unwittingly, organisations are reducing the likelihood of women getting jobs because of outdated recruitment processes.
“To ensure a step change in diversity, employers need to take action to mitigate against bias. Key to this is reviewing hiring procedures and updating each stage of the recruitment process. Amending job adverts to avoiding gendered language, and ensuring you’ve considered flexible working from the outset are just two examples that can help employers increase the number of women at application stage.”
Jess Phillips MP, co-chair of the Women and Work APPG, said: “If employers are to successfully hire and attract the best, diverse talent, they need to take recruitment seriously and review their processes. This toolkit encourages employers and policy-makers to make those changes, giving practical steps that will go some way in shifting persistent obstacles that women face when entering and re-entering the labour market.”
Gillian Keegan MP, co-chair of the Women and Work APPG, said: “I’m really pleased that the Women and Work APPG examined recruitment during 2018, to highlight ways to overcome the particular barriers faced by women. We have published this call for action to employers, to encourage them to think differently about how, where and who they hire, as part of open and inclusive recruitment process. We’ve also called on government to support employers to do this.”
The REC is urging the government and employers to take note of the recommendations of the report.