The pandemic has seen people professionals lead their organisations and employees through some of the most challenging times that most of us have ever experienced. This invaluable experience can help guide Scotland’s economic recovery too. That is the key message from CIPD Scotland’s 2021 Scottish election manifesto that has been published today.

CIPD Scotland, the professional body for HR and people development, sets out 21 public policy recommendations in Fairer workplaces for a fairer Scotland, which it has started taking to political parties gearing up for the election. The recommendations are based on an extensive programme of engagement with CIPD members: people professionals who work across HR, L&D and organisational development, many of which will have been on the frontline of the employer response to the COVID-19 crisis.

CIPD's manifesto is broken down into four key areas that will underpin Scotland's recovery.

In The Future of Work the CIPD argues that governments mustn’t lose focus of job quality as we emerge from the economic recession. The Scottish Government should keep fair work at the heart of its public policy and do what it can to promote awareness and adoption of fair work practices across businesses large and small. Improving management skills as a route to improved productivity should be a particular area of focus.

In Skills for Tomorrow the CIPD make the case for a series of reforms aimed at meeting some of the long-term challenges our economy is facing. This means a rebalancing of funding towards vocational skills development and lifelong learning. At the heart of this are changes to how apprenticeships are funded as well as an enhanced Individual Learning Account model that is more generous, flexible and responsive than what we see today.

In Wellbeing after COVID-19 the CIPD focuses on the impact the pandemic has had on employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, which has already been deteriorating over a few years. It recommends funding boosts for Scottish Government agencies that provide support in workplaces, as well as a significant effort to improve mental health support – for employees and employers - across Scotland.

In Supporting Inclusive Workplaces the CIPD looks at the unequal impact of the pandemic on different types of employees. It argues the Scottish Government has an enabling role to play in the journey towards employee inclusion by removing existing barriers and supporting opportunity for workers who face these barriers.

Lee Ann Panglea, Head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:  

“The people profession was at the heart of the immediate COVID-19 response – navigating unprecedented changes to working patterns, coming to grips with ever-changing regulations and support schemes and supporting employees and their wellbeing through some of the most difficult times they have ever faced.

“As focus cautiously shifts to our recovery and discussions about a “new normal”, people professionals’ experience and expertise should be a valuable resource. The pandemic remains the biggest challenge most of us have ever faced. But with every challenge comes opportunity for change. Our 2021 election manifesto lays out where we think that opportunity should be seized and how people professionals, employers and governments can work together to champion better work and working lives.”

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