This week’s letters

CIPD is not a jobcentre service

I am not sure that the Graduate Recruitment Survey 2004 necessarily makes
such "Grim reading for HR graduates" (Analysis, 3 February).

While the number of places on formal HR graduate training schemes may have
fallen slightly, research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development (CIPD) shows that more than two in five HR departments employ more
people than they did three years ago, with just one in four departments
reducing their numbers.

The HR profession is on a growth curve, with careers diversifying and the
opportunities to reach the most senior levels in business increasing. Many HR
departments are now recruiting MBA graduates to engage with strategic HR
management issues.

Graduates have many routes to enter the profession. Whichever they take,
they will find that most employers will support them through the CIPD
qualification, enabling them to combine study with the work experience that
will speed up their achievement of chartered status.

This is increasingly the real key to career progression for graduates, with
many employers now making it a requirement. This is not a mark of a ‘closed
shop’, but of a profession that takes itself seriously.

We continue to provide support to anyone seeking to develop a career in
personnel, and also to provide advice and support to careers advisers in
universities and beyond.

However, we do not pretend to be a job-finding service – nor do we believe
that the majority of our members would actually expect us to fulfil such a

Duncan Brown
Assistant director general, CIPD

HR needs to widen its selection pool

I am currently studying for my postgraduate diploma in human resource
management, as well as undertaking an assistant personnel officer’s role within
the City Of Wolverhampton College.

I am alarmed at the structure of most personnel departments in this country,
and after three years experience working within four very different HR
departments in different sectors, my conclusions are the same.

It appears that as companies have evolved and have had to implement an HR
department, the staff employed to undertake the activities are pooled from
already existing departments from the company, with very little HR training, if
any, behind them. This creates less opportunity for HR graduates, as HR departments
tend to be small, and retention within them low.

Graduates have to undertake largely administrative roles, and have to wait a
long time before they can exercise creative licence in the HR world, and
operate on a strategic level.

When you see advertisements for HR assistants/officers, advertising the
minimum two years generalist experience, it disappoints me, because a competent
graduate would be able to slot in that role with few problems.

If the HR sector is looking to become a credible entity on a strategic
level, it should nurture the future coming through universities, on both degree
and diploma level, rather than leaving grads with all the theory, and none of
the experience.

This is not an attractive proposition for recruiters. I recently saw a woman
who had completed her masters in HR, but was forced to apply for a
£10,000-a-year administrator role within a personnel function. Is this how to
breed the HR leaders of the future?

Details supplied

CIPD qualification is pointless in reality

I am writing concerning your poll regarding the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development (Barometer, 10 February).

As a recent graduate (MA hons business and management), I found it extremely
difficult to break into the HR field. Fortunately, I found a way in. But to
further my career, I am going to have to study further to receive CIPD

In my quest to start my studies, I found it difficult to find a suitable
course to study – especially when you try to begin a full-time position. The
fees are high and I really don’t see the benefits apart from a title.

Surely this signifies a gap in the market for competitors to begin a new HR
recognition instead of allowing the CIPD to reap the benefits?

I hope the situation changes in the future or the need for the qualification
is highlighted to those beginning further education. I feel I have completed a
degree for no reason.

Gina Patterson
Details supplied

Sexist applause for working mothers

Eager to avoid feelings of inadequacy, I didn’t read your article on the
seven greatest HR directors (Features, 13 January). However, I did read your
reply to the person who commented on your reference to the only female HR
director in the bunch (Letters, 3 February).

Why should a woman ‘juggling the raising of children [while holding down] a
successful career’ deserve applause when such applause was not given to the

Are you suggesting that only mothers juggle their children under such
circumstances? I imagine so, since I’ve been tossing my kids around for years,
and your magazine has never applauded me.

Mind you, I’m not exactly the greatest training manager in the world, so
perhaps your neglect is justified.

Oh, my hair colour is grey, by the way.

Paul Williams
Training and development manager, Federal Mogul Powertrain Systems Ltd

Greg Dyke was no visionary for BBC

Hasn’t Jane King missed the point about Greg Dyke’s leadership? (Editorial
comment, 3 February).

He was undoubtedly popular with the staff, but he was failing to deliver
improved public service broadcasting, according to most informed commentators.

This was the main rationale of his role. Not a lot of point in being
‘visionary’ if your organisation is headed ‘down the tubes’ – so hardly an
‘inspiration’ for industry leaders!

Paul Richardson
Details supplied

Hartley is barking up the wrong tree

Poor old HR Hartley! Just as the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie
Tootsie lost his gamble, I can’t help feeling that Hartley too backed the wrong
horse in his column (HR Viewpoint, 27 January).

He addresses his problems with recruitment agencies and talks of finding
"a way towards best practice" in resourcing. Little does he realise
that ‘best practice’ has left him and his company lagging far behind.

If what he describes is genuinely his approach to talent acquisition, were I
his employer, I would find myself asking some serious questions, including what
damage Hartley’s ‘mud at the wall’ approach was doing to the quality of my
employer brand?

There is an easy answer to Hartley’s question, ‘How can we as a profession
sort this out?’ It is already fixed. Today’s enlightened employers are now
working with their external resourcing partners to proactively identify a
pipeline of talented people to meet the future needs of the business. Posts are
filled before they are vacant, their brand is handled carefully by individuals
who truly understand their values and culture, the very best candidates are
excited about the opportunities available there and, of course, the HR Hartleys
are free to focus on the issues that will truly drive the business forward.

I am not surprised that Hartley is still at his desk at 7.30pm on a Monday
night. Presumably, he is sifting through the mountain of CVs provided by his
many agencies, trying to find something of interest. I cannot imagine that very
many of those applications will be from top-drawer individuals.

Fiona Sellers
Director, Courtenay HR Ltd

CIPD left me high, dry and unemployed

I haven’t received any real support from the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development (CIPD), particularly with trying to find my first job
in HR after completing a masters in HRM – the main objective of which was
obtaining the CIPD qualifications.

Stephen Ritchie
Details supplied

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