Underpaid for a position that cannot afford to fail
If the HR role with the Olympic Development Authority was permanent and in an established organisation, then the salary quoted (circa £75,000) might well be appropriate (Personnel Today, 13 December 2005). However, this is clearly not the case.

This HR job is not a permanent position, but – if successful – it could open up a range of possibilities.

The key issues in determining the appropriate remuneration for this role are: it is a very high-profile ‘start-up’ situation, it will require very high-level skills in project management and stakeholder management, and it will require excellent employee-relations skills.

As to who the job-holder should report to, given the nature and responsibilities of the role, I would be surprised if the chief executive accepts that the post-holder will report to the finance director.

Robert Purse, Interim HR executive

Rare opportunity to right wrongs on diversity
I was very surprised at the tone of your story on Rare Recruitment (Personnel Today, 10 January) of which I am the non-executive and unpaid chairman.

All of the business leaders on Rare’s advisory board are opposed to ‘positive discrimination’ and respect and abide by the law.

But we also know – and Personnel Today has itself written about this – that even very well-qualified ethnic minority candidates for jobs often have a much harder time getting to the interview stage than their white counterparts.

We all have a long way to go before the management of British industry comes close to reflecting the actual make-up of modern Britain. This is why Rare has such an important contribution to make and I am proud to support it.

Sir David Bell, Director for People, Pearson

Applause for tackling under-representation
It is a great shame that an initiative which seeks to promote and tackle the issue of ethnic minority under-representation falls victim to sensationalist headlines rather than being appreciated for its innovation (Personnel Today, 10 January).

Rare Recruitment is, quite rightly, mindful of the dearth of many ethnic minority groups in certain areas of the UK employment market. Of course its initiatives need to be in accordance with the law, and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has, in line with its regular advice work, already acted to assist Rare in this way.

The CRE regularly gives a range of bodies, including those for both employers and employees, advice on interpreting and complying with the Race Relations Act 1976, and its amendments.

Our chair is well aware of the need for recruitment organisations and employers generally to comply with the Act and this is why he agreed to participate as an adviser. Rare’s advisory board is due to meet for the first time in March and will help to ensure initiatives do not contravene the Act.

The commission has already alerted Rare to the legality of its approach, and we have every reason to believe it will conduct its business appropriately.

Colleen Harris, Director of strategy & communications, Commission for Racial Equality

Bids for popular applicants do no-one any favours
I read the rant on recruitment agencies (Personnel Today, 6 December 2005). It really disgusts me that agencies are effectively ‘pimping’ out their candidates to the highest bidder.

I have twice been told by recruitment consultancies, after expressing interest in a particular candidate, that the fee charged by that agency for that individual was 30% as the agency had other employers interested who were prepared to pay 25%. I am so disgusted with both agencies that I no longer deal with them.

What worries me is what candidates would say if they knew that their applications were only successful with companies that were prepared to pay premium fees and had nothing to do with whether the role or organisation was the most appropriate for the candidate.

Patrizia Napoli, Human resources – recruitment, Advantage Business Group

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