The HR profession gets the chance to voice its opinion on headline news each week through our barometer at PersonnelToday.com.
Based on your votes over the first quarter of 2005, we take a look at whether you agreed with the news and leading opinion formers.
Business leaders have given a cautious welcome to Labour plans to introduce a new Bank Holiday in the autumn if elected for a third term.
Q Should there be an extra public holiday in the UK?
- Yes 91%
- No 9%
Our verdict: Despite the CBI saying it’ll cost 1.5bn in lost productivity, you are all for another day off. Were you voting for improving staff work-life balance or your own?
Staff costs alone will mean the controversy surrounding government plans for 24-hour licensing will amount to nothing more than a storm in a pint glass.
Q Will 24-hour licensing affect productivity?
- Yes 57%
- No 43%
Our verdict: It is estimated that the absence caused by excessive drinking already costs business more than 2bn a year. Fortunately, only eight establishments across the UK have applied for late licenses so far.
The Conservatives have played down fears that their proposed immigration quotas will result in further skills shortages.
Q Do you agree with the Tories’ immigration policies?
- Yes 44%
- No 56%
Our verdict: A close one. However, like it or lump it we need immigrants to fill recruitment vacancies – presently standing at about 620,000 across the UK.
More than four-fifths of UK HR professionals say their bosses automatically think twice before employing women of ‘child-bearing’ age.
Q Do you think your organisation discriminates against pregnant women?
- Yes 17%
- No 83%
Our verdict: The 17% who discriminate against pregnant women are clearly in an envious position and have no troubles with recruitment and no concerns about tribunals. Sadly for you, it’s a fools paradise.
Prime minister Tony Blair recognises that workplace issues will be a key factor in the forthcoming election.
Q Who do you plan to vote for in the next election?
- Labour 36%
- Conservative 35%
- Liberal Democrats 21%
- Other 9%
Our verdict: The HR ‘Swingometer’ seems a great predictor of the forthcoming general election, with recent reports putting the Tories ever closer to Labour. Look out for our election special where the three main parties tell you what voting for them will mean for HR.
UK organisations are being hampered by serious weaknesses in the people skills of senior management.
Q Do you have confidence in your senior management?
- Yes 15%
- No 57%
- Sometimes 28%
Our verdict: With less than one in six HR professionals having confidence in senior management, this result underlines the seriousness of the problem. If HR can’t get leadership right with all their people management knowledge, how can anyone else be expected to?
Employers and unions have criticised government proposals to introduce mandatory pay audits to help tackle the gender pay gap, which can be up to 40% for some workers.
Q Do you support the introduction of mandatory pay audits?
- Yes 60%
- No 24%
- Unsure 16%
Our verdict: This might be because the females in HR are paid 8,000 less than their male counterparts.
HR staff are less likely than others to cope with life’s ‘milestone’ events, such as a marriage break-up or a death in the family, with a quarter feeling suicidal as a result.
Q Does working in HR make you depressed?
- All the time 16%
- Sometimes 63%
- Never 21%
Our verdict: With all the talk of increased employment rights and flexible working, many forget it’s HR that has do all the work to sort it out. It’s time to put the boot on the other foot and apply some well-deserved work-life balance to yourself.