Having your say: A round-up of your opinions from this quarter’s barometer

The HR profession gets the 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 second quarter of 2005, we take a look at whether you agreed with the news and leading opinion formers.

The news

Senior HR professionals are the lowest-paid managers in the UK, with their counterparts in sales, finance, marketing and IT receiving up to 50% more in their pay packets.

Your view: Are you underpaid compared with counterparts in other functions?

  • Yes 82%
  • No 18%

Our verdict

The Chartered Management Institute findings clearly struck a chord with you, but it’s not all bad news. As more HR professionals begin to develop specialist skills, they will be able to command higher salaries.

The news

HR staff, the guardians of workplace well-being, are the unhappiest workers of any profession in the UK, according to research.

Your view: How does working in HR make you feel?

  • Very happy 16%
  • Happy 39%
  • Ambivalent 21%
  • Unhappy 17%
  • Very unhappy 8%

Our verdict

Personnel Today readers are clearly a happier bunch than those surveyed by Kelly Services. Perhaps you are more able to take on the burden of ‘everyone else’s problems, apart from your own’ than others in the profession.

The news

Human capital management returned to the top of the agenda with the launch of a common set of standards for rating how well an organisation is capitalising on the value of its staff.

Your view: Do you think your organisation effectively measures human capital management (HCM)?

  • Yes 13%
  • No 87%

Our verdict

There is clearly a need for best practice advice on HCM, with the vast majority of you admitting your organisation struggles in this area. If HR is to progress as a profession, improvement on HCM is sorely needed.

The news

A request by Personnel Today, under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that the Accounting for People taskforce, whose recommendations were largely ignored in new government regulations on company reporting, cost £277,000.

Your view: Do you think the Accounting for People taskforce was worth £277,000?

  • Yes 11%
  • No 89%

Our verdict

After promising so much, the taskforce delivered so little, with the government largely ignoring its recommendation to make the inclusion of detailed staff information a central requirement in company reports – a potential blow to the credibility of HR.

The news

A London council is set to ban staff from taking smoking breaks during the working day. From 1 July, Brent Council will outlaw smoking outside the workplace, except before and after work and during lunch breaks.

Your view: Should smoking breaks be banned?

  • Yes 62%
  • No 38%

Our verdict

A ban on workplace smoking is high on the government agenda following the launch of a three-month consultation on the issue. With new research showing that smoking breaks are a source of resentment among non-smokers, Brent’s move is eminently sensible.

The news

In an embarrassing U-turn, the government had a rethink on its rebranding of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry, and restored its original title.

Your view: Is the DTI of any use to you?

  • Yes 68%
  • No 32%

Our verdict

Despite the muddled attempt at rebranding, the majority of you are still confident in the DTI. New trade and industry secretary Alan Johnson is well regarded in Westminster, but he will have to prove his worth to the business community.

The news

Employers are beginning to question whether flexible rights have gone too far, claiming that work-life balance has skewed too far away from the needs of business.

Your view: Have flexible rights gone too far?

  • Yes 47%
  • No 53%

Our verdict

Family-friendly policies were a key fighting ground during the general election campaign, but business groups fear they have gone too far. But, as an HR activity that can provide real benefit to an organisation, you – just about – disagree.

The news

Despite improved performances from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Labour party returned for an unprecedented third term of government, with a majority of 67.

Your view: Who do you plan to vote for in the general election?

  • Labour 30%

  • Conservative 30%

  • Lib Dems 27%

  • Other 13%

Our verdict

Michael Howard must have wished there were more HR professionals in the polling booths on 5 May, with his Tory party coming neck and neck with Labour in your pre-election preferences.

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