POLITICIANS must put job quality, skills and inclusion at the heart of plans for Northern Ireland’s post-Covid recovery.
That was the message from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development’s (CIPD) first Northern Ireland Manifesto which was informed by a programme of round table events with senior HR professionals from a range of sectors and industries, and surveys with stakeholders from the CIPD’s 4,000 members in Northern Ireland.
The pandemic has seen people professionals lead their organisations and employees through some very challenging times and the manifesto believes that the lessons from these experiences – both good and bad – should be used to help shape Northern Ireland’s recovery and to create better work and working lives for all.
In Better Work and Working Lives for Northern Ireland the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, sets out 22 public policy recommendations which it will discuss with politicians, policy advisers and a wide range of stakeholders in the run up to the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, to ensure that the concerns of people professionals, and their request to play a significant role in Northern Ireland’s post-Covid recovery, are heard.
The manifesto includes recommendations in areas of devolved responsibility over three chapters:
- Job quality in a changing world
- Flexible and responsive skills development
- A modern and inclusive labour market.
Amongst the 22 recommendations, the top five are:
- Continue to deepen the focus on job quality and embed job quality across all Northern Irish Executive policy.
- Change the right to request flexible working to a day one right. Employers need to think beyond home working to compressed hours, flexi-time and job sharing.
- Boost funding for education and skills and rebalance public funding towards demand-led vocational routes like apprenticeships.
- Boost investment in lifelong learning and stimulate demand from learners by introducing enhanced Individual Learning Accounts
- Introduce a new Northern Ireland Employment Bill to consolidate employment and equalities law and reflect the broader diversity in the Northern Ireland workforce.
Lee Ann Panglea, Head of the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “The experiences of the last two years, both good and bad, and the insights from people professionals from our Manifesto, can be used by politicians, policy-makers and other stakeholders to help shape Northern Ireland’s recovery from Covid-19 and other significant challenges including Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol that businesses have had to work through.
“The CIPD and people professionals are keen to play their role in the recovery and our manifesto lays out solutions both to tackle some of the immediate challenges as well as to support our longer-term vision for better work and working lives in Northern Ireland, focusing on job quality, skills and inclusion.”
The CIPD’s Senior Public Policy Adviser, Marek Zemanik, who wrote the Manifesto added: “Over the last two years people professionals have had to navigate unprecedented changes to working patterns, get to grips with ever-changing regulations and support schemes, and support employees and their wellbeing through some of the most difficult times they have ever faced. But with all challenges come opportunities for change. Our manifesto reflects some of the main things we have all learned, and highlights where there are opportunities and solutions for impactful change.”