The COVID-19 pandemic presented a crisis like no other in recent history. Combined with the UK’s departure from the EU, rising costs and continuing labour and skill shortages, it revealed the extent of the challenges faced by government, employers and all of us individually. 

As Northern Ireland prepared for the 2022 Assembly election, its political parties needed to offer credible ways to address these ongoing challenges. We set out to support them in this task through our manifesto, Better work and working lives for Northern Ireland

Read our manifesto. Take a look at our full recommendations. And learn more about our policy work across Northern Ireland.

Building the case for better work in Northern Ireland 

Our manifesto resulted from a programme of engagement with our members – people professionals who had been supporting organisations and their people to navigate unprecedented changes to working patterns, regulations and support schemes. Informed by survey research, policy roundtables and individual consultations, we gathered the evidence to make the business case for better work across Northern Ireland – work that benefits people, businesses, the economy and society.  

We sought to influence the Northern Ireland Executive’s agenda in three areas of public policy: job quality in a changing world, flexible and responsive skills development, and establishing a modern and inclusive labour market. 

Our key recommendations included:  

  • embedding job quality across all Northern Irish Executive policy 
  • changing the right to request flexible working to a day one right 
  • rebalancing public funding towards demand-led vocational routes like apprenticeships 
  • boosting lifelong learning, for example, by introducing enhanced Individual Learning Accounts 
  • introducing a new Northern Ireland Employment Bill. 

COVID-19 heightened awareness of the need to improve the way people are managed and developed. Our manifesto highlighted areas where policy-makers in Northern Ireland can make the biggest difference. And we’ve continued to share guidance and resources to support leaders and managers who are championing good work. 

Read our 2022 NI manifesto for better work

Download Better work and working lives for Northern Ireland
PDF document 1.5 MB

Our recommendations for better work in Northern Ireland

When we published our manifesto, we did not know the election would result in months of deadlock. The devasting war in Ukraine and its impact on fuel prices and the cost of living, coupled with ongoing skills and labour shortages, mean it is crucial that Northern Ireland has a functioning Executive. Our recommendations remain as urgent as ever.

Learn more about our policy work

Discover how we champion better work and working lives across Northern Ireland

Employment law: key differences between Northern Ireland and Great Britain

An overview of the main differences in employment law between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (made up of England, Scotland and Wales)

Working Lives Northern Ireland

Dedicated analysis of job quality and its impact on working lives in Northern Ireland