The Apprenticeship Levy Part II: Employers views 12 months on.

Following our initial research in 2017, this follow up report - the Apprenticeship Levy Part II - reveals the thoughts of leading firms a year later.

Back by popular demand, BPP joined forces with research specialists’ trendence UK and continued to target Guardian 300 UK employers for a second year in a row. The narrative from last year revealed the levy’s potential as a talent opportunity, rather than a financial challenge. Fast forward 12 months and it’s a slightly different picture.

Whilst nearly all firms are still planning to use the levy rather than lose it, two-thirds say they will use the levy for diversity initiatives, more than double the proportion who said the same last year. There is further focus on external recruitment, with expansion of the scheme being planned through a proliferation of courses, but the likely growth in apprenticeships and the majority of employer levy spend is not anticipated until 2021. This year’s survey also shows employers are looking for further flexibility in how they utilise their levy outside of apprenticeships.

83 of the Guardian UK 300 top employers responded to this survey, with the majority in banking and financial services (22%), engineering and construction (16%), accountancy and tax, (12%) and law (10%). Seven in ten (70%) will pay an annual levy in 2017-18 of over £1 million, a slight increase on last year’s proportion (64%), with almost one in five (18%) paying £8 million plus, almost double the number of respondents who were in the highest paying category last year (10%). Differences in approach between sectors have been observed – most notably in the Financial Services and Professional Services sectors. Sector specific reports will be published here in March 2018.

BPP also conducted a separate levy research survey for NHS levy paying employers, reaching 260 NHS Trusts, in-conjunction with the BPP Health School, Health Education England and the ESFA. Keep an eye out over the coming weeks to view this report.

Download overall industry report