Understanding Occupational Regulation

Tamkin P, Miller L, Williams J | Report 67 | UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) | Feb 2013

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Occupational regulation is a policy mechanism which can raise skill levels by introducing minimum prescribed skills standards into an occupation or an aspect of it.

Previous research published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests that occupational regulation, in certain forms, is one means by which workforce skills in the UK can be improved. It can do this by providing incentives for individuals or firms to invest in human capital, specific to the occupation they operate in, thereby raising skill levels.

The effect which occupational regulation can have on skill levels, however, is not necessarily consistent. Forth et. al (2012) reported that it was heavily contingent on the particular occupation, the type of occupational regulation established and its subsequent design, implementation and governance.

Whilst there is evidence of the positive effects of introducing occupational regulation (which increase in likelihood the stricter the form ofregulation applied) there is little information on schema design or the motivations for their introduction or amendment.

This report addresses some of these gaps and, consequently, the aims of the research were to:

  • Identify the design, implementation and administration/governance factors associated with occupational regulation schemes.
  • Use employer and stakeholder perceptions and existing evidence to explore the impact of occupational regulation.
  • Use employer and stakeholder perceptions and existing evidence to explore the impact of unintended consequences.
  • Examine key stakeholder views of the advantages and disadvantages of occupational regulation and critical success factors.
  • Identify best practice in occupational regulation.