The Olympic Games

The London Development Agency has announced that it is recruiting for an Olympic head of HR (as reported on page 1). And although the salary of £75,000 is deemed to be inadequate, whoever takes on the post is guaranteed a huge challenge and a high profile.

The construction industry, for example, needs 88,000 new entrants per year between now and the games to ensure that the developments are built on time, according to training body CITB-Construction Skills. HR teams will be at the forefront, recruiting and training the extra staff.

Ted Runciman is HR director at construction and management consultancy Currie & Brown, which is bidding against four other companies for a number of Olympics projects. He says the pressure will mount to get the right HR teams in place when the final contracts are announced.

Whether this means that firms will expand their current HR teams will depend on the size of the firms that win the contracts.

“Bigger organisations may feel they have a big enough HR department to deal with the extra work. However, if smaller firms win big contracts, they may need to look at their HR departments to make sure they have enough people on the team to help recruit new staff,” says Runciman.

Stella Littlewood is group HR director at engineering and design company Arup, which has already worked on the Olympics in Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008. She predicts that there will be an increased demand for talented HR professionals.

“In the same way that the industry will have to find skilled workers in the design and construction sector, we will have to find skilled people to do the recruiting,” she says. “Some organisations may see a greater need for consulting or temporary HR staff, to cover what will no doubt be a peak in the UK’s construction industry.”

HR practitioners keen to get into Olympic projects will need to prove they have excellent recruitment, training and development skills. Companies may need to hire workers with minimum experience, and it will be HR’s job to help them develop their skills.

“You will need to show how you can recruit people in the short term, develop them and retain them,” says Runciman.

For HR professionals working in the sector over the next few years, it could be a real opportunity to shine.

“As an industry, we will need to keep standards high, which means that there will be pressure on HR professionals to perform,” Littlewood concludes. “This is an opportunity to show the world how UK HR is a leader, not a follower.”

How could the Olympics help your career?

Grab new opportunities

Some firms may need to expand their HR departments to recruit and train extra staff, which will open up new
HR roles.

Rise to the challenge

With thousands of skilled staff needed to deliver the Olympics, it could really push your recruitment, training and project management skills to new levels.

Raise your profile

HR will be central to the success of Olympic projects, so this could be a real chance to get noticed. Plus, it will look fantastic on your CV for years to come.

For more information on the Olympics click here

and on the race for the top job click here

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