Human Resources

5 Key Insights from the 2020 CIPD Manifesto for Work



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To guide us through the ever-changing modern workforce, the CIPD have published their annual Manifesto for Work.

This document tackles the most pressing issues facing employers, with data-driven advice on how to mitigate their effects. In the most recent edition of this document, they’re taking on low pay, inclusion, Brexit, mental health, and much more.

We’ve distilled some of the key takeaways from this edition of the manifesto in this blog to give you an overview of these hot topics.

You can read the full report here. 




Wellbeing and the Workplace

In the past few years, there has been a bigger focus on wellbeing at work and this seems set to continue this year. To help both employers and employees, the CIPD are championing the creation of a campaign to boost knowledge of workers’ rights.

They’re also calling for the government to make additional provisions to protect workers in the wake of Brexit. They’ve pointed out flaws within the existing system in protecting vulnerable adults and stated that there were barriers to their access to employment tribunals.

Many small businesses struggle with accessing HR services and the CIPD suggests that the quality of business support offered to these firms should be improved.

In the arena of financial wellbeing, they’ve advised that the government should implement phased increases to employer pension contributions and invest in financial awareness campaigns. This strategy seeks to advise employees why financial planning is important, while prompting employers to invest in their employees’ financial wellbeing.


Reward and Compensation

Fair pay and compensation for workers are essential for organisations that want to retain their top performers. Excessive pay at upper levels are coming under scrutiny, with mandatory executive pay gap reporting legislation effective from this year.

This increased transparency surrounding pay is part of a wider culture shift, which the CIPD fully support in their manifesto.

Their recommendations are for the government to take steps to ensure that executive pay is more closely aligned with the rest of the organisation. To do so, they suggest that the government support voluntary schemes for employers to report pay figures to encourage transparency.

They have also suggested that the Low Pay Commission be restructured to run independently, without pressure from political parties. There are concerns that politicising minimum wage is counter-productive and that this commission should set these standards independently from any party pressure.




Inclusion and Representation

Unsurprisingly, creating more flexible working roles is a large part of this plan from the CIPD. Research shows that demand is outstripping supply for flexible working, with employers unwilling to create these roles en masse.

The CIPD recommends a major communications campaign to challenge employers to publish flexible working policies more widely and pilot new schemes. This ties into diversity, as flexible working can empower a wide variety of applicants that may not otherwise be suited by a rigid schedule.

Outside of their recommendations, they’ve also encouraged employers to be creative in how they support their staff in using flexible working. They suggest that employers make practical tools and guidance available to staff to turn flexible working policies into a reality in the workplace.

Their suggestions also include the introduction of carer’s leave, provision of affordable childcare, and reformations to parental leave policies. These suggestions have been created with the intention of opening up the world of work to parents, carers, and other demographics.

Alongside the existing gender pay gap and executive pay reporting provisions, this report also calls for reporting on ethnicity pay gaps within organisations.


A Real Focus on Skills

The CIPD have called on the government to provide more opportunities for workers to progress and grow within employment. They want to see a variety of new opportunities, as well as social changes to ensure more workers can take advantage of them.

Many of their suggestions focus on a change of infrastructure which would make skills development more widely available. They suggest reforming the apprenticeship levy to apply to training more broadly, as well as developing frameworks to assess soft skills.

This emphasis on skills has the aim of developing the workforce further, which creates a net gain for the country as a whole. Encouraging a culture shift to lifelong learning is essential to address skills gaps, low pay, and low productivity according to the CIPD.

Upskilling managers also allows for more effective skills utilisation, as they’re more likely to be able to spot promising colleagues with skills that are not being used. This also boosts productivity and increases employee engagement with the organisation.




Challenges and Pressure on Organisations

While these suggestions have been put forward by the CIPD, they have acknowledged that there are challenges to be considered. One of the biggest shifts in policy and economics will come from Brexit, though no one can anticipate exactly how this will unfold.

The CIPD suggest that the government works to support businesses during this time, especially those with a high proportion of EU workers. In the wake of Brexit there may be a shortage of labour, but this could also be an opportunity to reskill UK workers to fill these gaps.

Sluggish productivity in the UK has been an issue since the financial crash. Many of the suggestions laid out in the manifesto are geared towards growing productivity but turning the tide will be no mean feat.

The Resolution Foundation found that the likelihood of a recession before 2024 was ‘uncomfortably high’. If this were to happen, there would be more pressing priorities for the government to tackle.

Recessions generally see a reduction in public spending and an increase in unemployment, which could make it difficult for employers and the government to bring in additional policies aimed at improving the workplace.


As we progress through 2020, we’re bound to see the points laid out in this manifesto becoming more prevalent.

As the CIPD and HR practitioners place an emphasis on these aspects, employees will come to expect more from their employers and your organisation won’t want to be left behind.


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