Matthew Taylor to lead independent review of employment practices in the modern economy - RSA

Matthew Taylor to lead independent review of employment practices in the modern economy

Press release 8 Comments

The Prime Minister has asked RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor to lead an independent review into how employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models.

The inquiry will consider the implications of new forms of work on employee rights and responsibilities - as well as on employer freedoms and obligations. The RSA has previously examined the rapidly-changing labour market in projects such as Fair Share and The Power of Small.

The wide-ranging review will look at ways to ensure that the regulatory framework surrounding employment, and the support provided to businesses and workers, is keeping pace with changes in the labour market and the economy. 

It will examine how flexibility can be maintained while also supporting job security and workplace rights, and whether new employment practices can be better used as an opportunity for underrepresented groups.

Commenting on his appointment, RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor said:

“It is very encouraging that the Prime Minister, in one of her first acts, has asked me to chair an independent review to look into how we can best respond to the rapidly changing world of work so it delivers for ordinary people.

“New forms of employment have many advantages for workers and consumers but there are challenges and risks. We need to approach this issue with an open mind recognising that within our flexible system of employment the same type of contract can have a diverse range of impacts on the people who use them.

“That the Prime Minister has chosen to prioritise the interests of the growing army of people working in new ways sends an important message. As well as getting to grips with the key trends and issues, I intend for the review team to get out and about across Britain hearing at first-hand how people’s experience of work affects their daily lives.”

Vikki Heywood, RSA Board of Trustees Chairman, said:

“As Chairman of the RSA Board of Trustees, I welcome Matthew’s role in leading the independent modern employment review.

“The decision to invite Matthew to chair the inquiry is a testament to the breadth and quality of the RSA’s research and impact in recent years on the future of work, self-employment and the platform economy. It also reflects the significant value placed in the RSA’s methodology, which prioritises analysis of the first hand experiences of people across the country.

“The pace in which employment is changing means an objective investigation into working lives is both timely and necessary.  I look forward to hearing its findings.”

Notes to Editors


Scope of the review

The review will address six key themes:

Security, pay and rights

  • To what extent do emerging business practices put pressure on the trade-off between flexible labour and benefits such as higher pay or greater work availability, so that workers lose out on all dimensions?  
  • To what extent does the growth in non-standard forms of employment undermine the reach of policies like the National Living Wage, maternity and paternity rights, pensions auto-enrolment, sick pay, and holiday pay?  

Progression and training

  • How can we facilitate and encourage professional development within the modern economy to the benefit of both employers and employees?

Finding the appropriate balance of rights and responsibilities for new business models

  • Do current definitions of employment status need to be updated to reflect new forms of working created by emerging business models, such as on-demand platforms?


  • Could we learn lessons from alternative forms of representation around the world, for example the Freelancers Union in New York which focuses on access to health insurance, or the California App Based Drivers Association which lobbies companies like Uber on behalf of drivers?

Opportunities for under-represented groups

  • How can we harness modern employment to create opportunities for groups currently underrepresented in the labour market (the elderly, those with disabilities or care responsibilities)?

New business models

  • How can government – nationally or locally – support a diverse ecology of business models enhancing the choices available to investors, consumers and workers?   


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  • Will this review take into account the incredibly rapid growth and impact of digital technology on the world of work? In my view this is crucial to any discussion about employment practices...and ties back to the earlier comment by Ian Sharp. 

  • Excellent appointment. Your post is the best summary I've been able to find. Can you point me to the official announcement? Thanks.

  • This is encouraging news. Will lifelong learning and basic income be considered? These ideas have a major part to play in creating new employment solution that are fit for a modern economy in my opinion.

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