The Taylor Review – Here’s what you need to know

Matthew Taylor, former aide to Tony Blair and Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, was asked to report on the changing world of employment. The Prime Minister committed to taking the report’s recommendations seriously.

At 116 pages, (the link to which you’ll find at the bottom of this article), this is a lengthy document. But if you’re looking for a set of radical recommendations and strong measures moving forward, you won’t find any. Instead, it’s more of a snap-shot of the employment market and commentary as to where we’re at.

So, where exactly are we? Taylor talks at length about the way we work. That’s because he’s looking to establish the evolving relationship we have with work – the quality of work on offer, the terms of employment, how we pay tax and how this impact on things like our career choices and scope for development. He acknowledges that many of us have different relationships with our work over the course of our lives. And that’s because, as a nation, we have a pretty flexible approach.

Taylor describes this as ‘the British Way’. And what he means by this is that whilst full-time, permanent work remains the norm, there are other atypical arrangements on offer. And whilst flexibility is a key characteristic to how we work as a nation, sometimes this flexibility is skewed and one-sided. In particular, Taylor has suggested the ‘gig economy’ – i.e. platform-based, short-term contractors (for companies such as Deliveroo)  – are victims of this one-sided relationship. He also suggests it might be appropriate for these workers to be re-classified as dependent contractors – to create a clear and definitive line from the self-employed.

The findings, if not remarkable, are a benchmark from which to measure and progress. And there are seven key recommendations that Taylor makes.

1)      To establish a goal of ‘Good work for all’.

Taylor says that ‘good work and plentiful work can and should go together,’ and it’s something for which ‘Government needs to be held accountable but for which we all need to take responsibility.’  It should apply to all forms of employment – with a ‘baseline’ of protection for progression at work; taxation should be more consistent across employment forms while improving rights and entitlements of self-employed people and technology should offer smarter regulation, more flexible entitlements and new ways of organising.

2)      Dependent Contractors

People who work for platform-based companies on short-term contracts should be reclassified as dependent contractors – not to be confused with those who are legitimately self-employed – with a call for more genuine two-way flexibility.

3)      The Employment Wedge

Taylor expresses a concern that the non-wage costs of employing a person is already high and the government should avoid increasing it further. He also highlights dependent contractors as deserving particular attention and that stronger incentives should be provided for to ensure fair treatment.

4)      Corporate Governance

National regulation is not needed to provide good work, but companies must harness good management and strong employment relations to facilitate it.

5)      Developing skills

Everyone should feel that ‘realistically attainable’ ways are accessible to strengthen their future work prospects - whether through formal, informal, on – or off – the job learning.

6)      Workplace Health

Proactive measures should be taken to create heathier workplaces

7)      The National Living Wage

Still recognised as a powerful tool, strategies need to be in place to make sure workers don’t get stuck on this rate.

And that, in a nutshell, is the Taylor report. As a review, it does what it says on the tin. It’s a review. A state of the nation. Whether we see any hard-line actions coming from it, is yet to be seen. For more information, please visit

Thursday, 13 July 2017

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The Taylor Review – Here’s what you need to know