The HR profession getsthe chance to voice its opinion on headline news each week via our barometer at PersonnelToday.com – our award-winning website. Based on your votes over the final quarter of 2006, we take a look at whether you agreed with the news and leading opinion-makers.
Q Would your organisation sign a pledge to train more employees?
Yes: 51% No: 49%
The long-awaited Leitch report told the government that the UK needed to ramp up the skills of its population to avoid a “bleak future”. It recommended that firms sign a voluntary pledge to train their staff to Level 2 – the equivalent of five grade A-C GCSEs.
Slightly more than half of you said your organisation would be willing to sign the pledge. This is an encouraging start, but the Leitch report said that if not enough companies sign by 2010, then providing basic skills training should be made a legal requirement. Such a law seems a very real possibility if a significant percentage of organisations would not sign a voluntary agreement.
Q Does union in-fighting undermine their credibility?
Yes: 89% No: 11%
The battle fora share in declining union membership intensified between the GMB and Amicus. The GMB accused Amicus of hypocrisy in moving to ‘level-down’ the salaries of five members of its staff, while Amicus blamed the GMB of forcing it to do so, saying it was being made to follow the letter of the law.
Whatever the truth behind the claims and counter-claims, it seems the battle left both sides worse for wear. Nine out of 10 of you said that the in-fighting undermined the union movement’s credibility. Wouldn’t their energies be better focused elsewhere?
Q Do you fear your job will be offshored in the next five years?
Yes: 29% No: 71%
HR professionals received an abrupt wake-up call as a senior consultant told Personnel Today that he was working on several deals to take HR jobs to India. There was a “massive opportunity” to deliver benefits to UK companies by offshoring back-office functions, he said.
More than one in four of you was afraid that your job would go abroad within the next five years. Since then, a major survey has found that 170,000 HR jobs across Europe are under threat from India and other low-cost countries. It is time to ensure that your role adds enough value to your organisation to justify keeping it in the UK.
Q Should positive discrimination be legalised?
Yes: 15% No: 85%
Trevor Phillips used his farewell speech as chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality to call for the legalisation of positive discrimination. Phillips, who is now chairman of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, insisted the government should allow employers to take “special measures” to favour ethnic minority job applicants.
In an overwhelmingly one-sided poll, 85% of you said positive discrimination should remain illegal. UK employers clearly don’t want the power to put minorities ahead of majorities. Be ready for a fight when Phillips recommends the policy to the government later this year as chairman of the independent Equalities Review.
Q Should the CIPD consider wider business experience in applications for membership?
Yes: 80% No: 20%
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) was accused by senior HR professionals of hypocrisy and discrimination in not recognising business experience gained outside the HR department. Specsavers’ HR director Emma Hughes told Personnel Today she was refused fellowship status despite years of running hotel and cinema chains. She said this was in conflict with the CIPD’s message that HR professionals needed broader business experience.
This story clearly touched a nerve. In the biggest barometer poll of 2006, four out of five of you said the CIPD should consider business experience gained outside HR. As the profession becomes more business-focused, this pressure on the CIPD looks set to continue.