Apprentices and gender pay – an outsourcer’s view on new legislation

apprentices-and-gender-pay-scott-hill-featureFacilities management may not be one of the UK’s best-known industries, but it is one of the fastest growing – it’s estimated to be worth £110 billion a year*.

Facilities management professionals are responsible for managing and maintaining the estates and property of most of the UK’s leading private and public sector organisations.


Facilities management acting as a guide for the UK

The nature of outsourced facilities management accounts – with employees regularly transferring between companies – means facilities management companies employ large and diverse workforces. For HR professionals, it is worth looking at practices in the facilities management industry. Particularly since we operate in nearly every industry sector so we feel the impact of changes to employment legislation more than most. We have to be able to interpret the details of these changes and understand how they will affect UK businesses across a range of sectors. The reaction of HR teams in facilities management can serve as a guide on how businesses more widely are likely to respond.

Changes to legislation coming soon

There are two upcoming pieces of legislation that will have an impact on facilities management and business in general:

  • The apprenticeship levy in April 2017.
  • The mandatory publication of gender pay gap data. This is also expected to come into force in April 2017, although the first full reports are not required to be published until 2018.

You won’t find many people in the facilities management sector or elsewhere, myself included, who would question the aim of these changes. They champion the spirit of diversity and inclusion that businesses should be aiming for, and are vital to the sustainable future of UK business. It is the delivery of these changes that causes some concern.

Delivering changes

With the apprenticeship levy there is a lot to get right in a relatively short space of time. It’s a fantastic opportunity to boost skills and talent development but the government is still consulting on important aspects of the programme, making it difficult to plan. What we do know is that it is likely to require additional resources, new internal systems and processes for ongoing work between government and the business community.

On gender pay gap reporting, businesses have voiced concerns about how this will be delivered and the support that will be available from central government. Reporting will be a major undertaking and companies need to put plans in place now.

Looking to the future

It’s important that the government gets the right support frameworks in place to deliver these complex changes. It’s also important that outsourced providers, like Interserve, for whom these changes will have a significant impact, work with the government to help shape their thinking on how these changes will be delivered. We’ve already been closely involved in the consultation process and there are parts of the draft legislation that would not be there if it weren’t for the role business has played so far.

This is a challenging period, but one with plenty of opportunity that we can safely navigate if we work together.

Find out more…

Facilities management – We ‘re-imagine’ facilities management solutions to redefine what it can do for clients.

Read more in HR Magazine.

*BIFM 2015 FM Business Confidence Monitor –