Census staff hit by recruitment shortage hitch

The UK’s tight labour market has
made recruiting the army of workers needed to carry out the 10-year census more
difficult than ever before.

More than 60,000
people have been employed to deliver census forms to every household in the
country during a recruitment campaign that began in March 2000.

Pat Mann, who is in
charge of human resources for the census which started last week, said
additional radio and newspaper advertising was needed to find the necessary

She said, "The
number of people involved is about one-and-a-half times the size of the navy.
In this climate of full employment it has been more difficult than ever before
to recruit the number of people we needed."

The census is
controlled by about 100 area managers, who co-ordinate census district
managers, team leaders and the thousands of enumerators who deliver the forms.

Mann and her
six-strong team are in charge of every aspect of human resources during the
census apart from the payroll, which has mainly been outsourced.

Mann’s HR team also
has to deal with dismissal procedures and organising reserves that are ready to
step in at short notice.

It has to issue health
and safety guidelines covering issues such as ensuring people delivering census
forms don’t overload their bags, particularly in Wales where forms have to be
in both English and Welsh languages.

Special instructions
have to be given to area managers in areas affected by foot-and-mouth disease
so the workforce does not deliver to areas which have been quarantined.

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