HR professionals keen to make their mark

Personnel Today readers plan to vote in their droves at the general election with Labour and Conservative candidates benefiting almost equally.

Almost 91% of respondents to a Personnel Today online poll said they would vote at the general election. This compares to a nationwide 59% turnout at the 2001 general election.

That would be higher, percentage-wise, than the turnouts at every general election since the Second World War and higher than the greatest turnout in a single seat, at the 2001 election, when 72% voted in the Winchester constituency.

Pollster Mori estimates 5 May turnout will be “around 62%”.

In Personnel Today’s poll 6,868 respondents said they intend to vote at the election compared to 680 who said they would not.

Of those who said they will vote their intentions, when responding, were as follows:

  • Labour 34%
  • Conservative 33%
  • Liberal Democrat 23%
  • Green 5%
  • Others 5%

This shows a large fall in support for Labour among Personnel Today readers compared with a magazine poll, 5,915 respondents who said they voted at the 2001 general election. The percentages of votes they cast for each party then were:

  • Labour 49%
  • Conservative  29%
  • Liberal Democrat 18%
  • Others 4%

This suggests that Personnel Today readers who responded to the survey are more likely to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat and less likely to vote Labour than national polls indicate.

Support for the Conservatives among Personnel Today readers who responded to the survey, who voted at the 2001 election and say they will vote on 5 May, has risen 4.5%, support for the Liberals has grown by 5.2%, while Labour’s popularity has dipped by 14.7%.

A Mori poll of the electorate’s general election voting intentions, published on 22 April, found 39% of those asked said they would vote Labour, 32% Conservative, 22% Liberal Democrat and 7% Other.

But voting intentions among readers responding to the Personnel Today survey varies widely according to age and job title, and whether respondents work in the public or private sector.

Voting intentions of the 1,962 respondents who said they work in the public sector and who say they will vote next week are:

  • Labour  41%
  • Conservative 24%
  • Liberal Democrat 24%
  • Others  11%

In the 2001 election the public sector vote was: 56% Labour; 21% Conservative; 18% Liberal Democrat; and 5% other.

It is a different picture in the private sector, where equivalent figures, based on 4,199 respondents who say they will vote on 5 May and say they work in the private sector, are:

  • Labour 31%
  • Conservative 38%
  • Liberal Democrat 23%
  • Others 8%

Of those respondents who worked in the private sector in 2001, 45% voted Labour, 33% Conservative, 18% Liberal Democrat and 4% other.

Age also affects Personnel Today readers’ voting intentions.

In Personnel Today’s poll 47% of the 633 respondents in the 45-54 age group, who say they will vote next week, say they will vote Conservative, 24% Labour, 23% Liberal Democrat and 6% Other.

The breakdown for the equivalent 1,790 respondents in the 45-54 age group intending to vote in 2005 is: 39% Conservative, 30% Labour, 23% Liberal Democrat; and 8% Other.

There were 1,997 respondents in the 25-34 age group and their stated voting intentions are:

  • Conservative 27%
  • Labour 40%
  • Liberal Democrat 24%
  • Others 9%

The youngest group polled, the 18-24-year olds, say they will vote as follows: 23% Conservative; 35% Labour; 33% Liberal Democrat; and 9% Other.

Personnel Today also broke down voting intentions by stated job title. It is clear that the more senior respondents are more likely to vote Conservative.

Of the 934 respondents who said they were HR directors and who said they will vote on 5 May, 46% say they will vote Conservative, 26% Labour, 20% Liberal Democrat and 8% Others.

The equivalent breakdown for HR assistants, of whom 406 said they will vote, is: 30% Conservative; 34% Labour, 27% Liberal Democrat;  and 9% Other.

Of the 2,126 HR managers who say they will vote, 33% intend to vote for the Conservatives, 36% for Labour, 22% Liberal Democrat and 9% Other.

The voting intention figures for those 1,085 respondents who say they are HR department heads and plan to vote are:

  • Conservative 37%
  • Labour 32%
  • Liberal Democrat 23%
  • Others 8%

And the voting intentions of 1,441 respondents who say they are HR advisers and plan to vote are:

  • Conservative 25%
  • Labour 39%
  • Liberal Democrat 26%
  • Others 10%

Personnel Today also asked respondents to name three issues which they would like the next government to deal with.

Among the 7,278 who replied to this question, the issue that came top – nominated by 56% – was government-funded pension incentives.

The issue ranked second, with a 42% score, was tackling the skills shortages and third, at 31% was a single equality act to tackle workplace discrimination.

Other issues that Personnel Today readers would like to see addressed by the next government are:

  • More money spent on education for 14-19 year-olds (31%)
  • Immigration quotas that take into account the needs of business (28%)
  • Higher taxation for top earners (21%)
  • More investment/funding/tax credits for childcare ( 20%)

Only 11% of those who responded to this question wanted the DTI abolished to cut red tape. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats say they will scrap the DTI, with Labour likely to trim staff numbers at the ministry.

As for pensions, the Conservatives have promised to raise tax incentives for pension savers; the Liberal Democrats say they will pay £100 extra a month to the over-75s; while Labour is awaiting the findings of the Turner Commission, which is examining pension provision – however,  pensions minister Alan Johnson says “forcing people to save” was under consideration.

A series of YouGov polls in April found those asked felt neither Labour nor the Conservative party would handle the pension issue better.

The Personnel Today poll also asked respondents what would influence their voting intentions more: personal interest; professional interests; or both equally.

28% of those who answered this question said it would be personal interests, 1% said professional interests, while 71% said it would be both equally.

The Personnel Today poll was conducted between from 19 and 21 April, and 6,788 questionnaires were completed.

Responses to individual questions ranged from 7,548 for the question ‘Do you intent to vote in the May general election?’, to 6,668 for ‘Which party will you vote for in the coming general election?’.

Two-thirds of those who completed the questionnaires said they were manager level or above, while  17% were department heads.
Respondents were also asked what their specialisations were and the top four named were:

  1. HR generalist 55%
  2. Training and development 13%
  3. Recruitment and retention 6%
  4. HR strategy 4%

They were also asked to say which sector they worked in. No sector predominated. The two highest, both named by 11% of respondents respectively, were manufacturing and local or central government.

Others were: finance, banking and insurance (8%); retail and distribution (7%); healthcare (7%); and IT/Telecoms (7%).

Many respondents (45%) said they currently work in London or the South East, 15% in the Midlands, 9% in the North West, 5% in Scotland with the remainder working elsewhere.

The most common age band selected by respondents was 35-44, clicked by 31%. Percentages for other age bands selected were:

  • 25-34  29%
  • 45-54  26%
  • 55-64  10%
  • 18-24  4%
  • 65+     under 1%%

Base: The 6,969 respondents who answered the question: How old are you?

Test your turnout knowledge

At which general election was turnout highest:

  • 1992
  • 1974
  • 1950
  • 1945

(Scroll down for the answer)




The answer is – 1950, when it was 84%. Labour, under Clement Attlee won most seats but the Tories, led by Winston Churchill, won most votes.

Comments are closed.