How legislative change, including GDPR, will affect the recruitment industry in 2017

recruitment industry legislative changeFrom the unpredictability of Brexit negotiations to the essential compliance to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to come into force early in 2018, the recruitment industry needs to pay close attention to legislative change during 2017.

All Change

Many political commentators are now heralding 2016 as one of the most significant years in recent history in terms of long-term impact – both economic and cultural. The rise in popularism and its implications – from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump as US President – took many by surprise and will without doubt have a knock on effect on employment strategies for many organisations during 2017. 

Right now, the legal implications of Brexit still hang in the balance. Until Article 50 is eventually triggered and the complex negotiations begin, companies will remain understandably wary of what lies ahead. In reality, however, any change to UK employment legislation is unlikely and actual change to employing staff from EU, or elsewhere, is not going to come into effect for over two years – if at all.

Furthermore, with low unemployment, rising demand for skills, strong export markets and an upward trend in both manufacturing and service sectors, the fundamentals of the job market remain strong.

GDPR Significance

Clearly recruiters need to keep a close eye on the potential implications of Brexit negotiations as and when they commence but there are more pressing legislative concerns to address in 2017 – not least GDPR.  Designed to safeguard personal information, GDPR lays out a number of essential requirements that recruitment agencies need to understand and support. For example, each individual must give explicit consent for their personal data to be collected and used; they must understand how their information is going to be used; and all personal data must be wiped after a prescribed period of time.

In the event of a serious cyber-attack, companies must inform all those affected by the security breach, as well as the Information Commissioner’s Office, within 72 hours. With fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover for failure to comply, GDPR is a very significant legislative change.

With GDPR due to come into force on May 25th 2018, the onus is on companies to put in place both new data processing, storage and management solutions and a strong workforce education program to ensure staff understand the importance of safeguarding personal data.

2017 may or may not turn out to be as tumultuous as 2016. But either way, recruiters need to work with candidates and clients to dispel some of the myths and concerns regarding Brexit, focus on business as usual and, most critically, ensure the resources are available to address GDPR compliance.

For further information on GDPR and its implications for recruiters click here.