UK Work and Pensions Secretary and member of the Conservative Party, Amber Rudd, spoke to recruiters at Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) HQ about opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Automation is driving the decline of banal and repetitive tasks,” Rudd said. “So the jobs of the future are increasingly likely to be those that need human sensibilities – with personal relationships, qualitative judgement and creativity coming to the fore. And there is a clear role for government to help people take advantages of these changes, and to help businesses create high-quality jobs.”
Rudd has been seen by some as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May and the speech was part of her vision of a modern-day Conservative Party.
“I don’t underestimate the challenges ahead,” Rudd said. “Jobs are being made, remade and reshaped every day, as we find new ways to be useful to one another. But I remain incredibly optimistic about what we can achieve.”
In her speech, Rudd also expanded on three key points for the UK labour market: better access, better opportunities and better protection for workers.
As part of the ‘better access’ key point, Rudd said the first plank of the party’s strategy is building a society where everyone who can work has access to a job.
“The Government’s Industrial Strategy sets out an ambitious, long-term vision to make us the world’s most innovative economy – future-proofing our jobs market so we can be at the forefront of emerging industries,” Rudd said.
In her second key point, ‘better opportunities’, Rudd said that it isn’t enough to just have any job, “we want people to have good jobs.”
She highlighted the Good Work Plan to address fears that the gig economy could “objectify labour to a point where their working lives are subordinate to an unthinking algorithm.”
For the ‘better protections’ key point, Rudd addressed the “need to build a safety net that supports people effectively during their working lives – one that can particularly help those who find themselves temporarily displaced.”
She also pointed to Automatic Enrolment for workplace pension, the National Retraining Scheme and Universal Credit as pillars for better protection for workers.
“Automation presents opportunity for greater creativity and increased focus on personal relationships in the workplace. We see this across the recruitment industry, with technology augmenting the role of the recruiter, speeding up and replacing laborious administrative tasks. The demand for new skills and creation of new roles should create greater possibility for truly fulfilling and meaningful work for individuals, as long as the requirements for professional and personal development are met and delivered at scale across both employed, unemployed and new generations heading in to the workforce.”- Charlotte Horton, Impellam Group Head of Innovation and Insight.For Amber Rudd’s full speech, click here.