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People and skills are at the heart of our economic prosperity. With a good education and the right skills, everyone has the best chance to get a job and get on in their career. And for the UK to seize new opportunities and grow, we need a trained and diverse workforce, supported by good business practice and the right policy environment.

Top priorities

  • Education – Education provides the best way to raising living standards. We need to work towards a system that gives children and young people the relevant skills, experience and guidance for them to succeed, in turn supporting business and economic growth.
  • Skills – Acute skills shortages are holding businesses – and the economy – back. Major changes are underway, but the top priority for business is getting the apprenticeship levy fit-for-purpose. It’s important we have a range of paths to higher skills across further and higher education as well as technical and professional routes.
  • Access to talent – Our skills challenges will only be met if we have the widest pool of talent to draw on. It means companies must continue to increase employee diversity to unlock the potential of the whole UK workforce. Businesses also need access to global talent to fill any skills gaps and to help them compete overseas.
  • Labour market flexibility – A flexible labour market provides employment opportunities and supports economic growth. We are focused on ensuring the labour market works for business, reducing barriers to taking on new employees and enabling the creation of good jobs with opportunities for progression.

Policy issues affecting the industry

  • Diversity – Businesses are best served by creating inclusive workplaces that allow talent from all backgrounds to flourish. Companies need to learn from each other's experience to identify and nurture a diverse pool of talent, at the same time as navigating the introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting and other government-backed reviews.
  • Skilled migration – Concerns about the impact of immigration remains high, yet as a medium-sized, open economy with global ambitions, the ability to harness global talent can have a significant impact on our prosperity. The CBI seeks to respond to concerns on immigration while protecting the jobs, investment, and the productivity gains that it brings.
  • National living wage – The National Living Wage represents a growing challenge for businesses as it rises towards the Chancellor's target of 60% of median earnings. On behalf of CBI members, we will push for a sustainable pace of increase and maintain pressure to ensure that the Low Pay Commission remains independent.
  • Pensions – Business leaders see pensions as a key employee benefit, so we are working across a range of policy areas – including automatic enrolment, tax, defined benefit (DB) and European Pensions Policy – to ensure that businesses can offer quality and affordable pensions to their staff.

How to get involved

  • Come to our events – As a member of the CBI you’ll receive invites to exclusive events throughout the year with high profile speakers from business and politics.
  • Join the CBI Employment & Skills Network – Our network is aimed at senior HR leaders and others with a responsibility for people and skills issues. Members of the network share best practice, receive policy intelligence, updates and insights into the labour market, employment and skills landscape, and inform and shape the CBI's policies on people and skills issues. Find out more.
  • Influence our policy – We have a number of forums for members to input into our policy making process. As well as our CBI Employment & Skills Network, our work is steered by our Employment & Skills Board and Pensions Panel.
  • Get the latest intelligence – Get access to insights from across policy and business direct to your inbox by subscribing to the CBI's quarterly updates.

To find out more about how CBI membership can benefit your business, fill out the form below.


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What our members are telling us:

Karen Boswell
Managing director, Hitachi Rail Europe

"In order to make progress happen, we need first to be clear about what diversity actually is. Diversity is about more than gender – it is also about background, skills, age and experience – and while higher financial returns are not guaranteed, there is an abundance of research to demonstrate a strong trend towards better performance achieved by companies with more diverse workforces."

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