This week’s letters

Sexist response belies the truth

I was concerned at the sexist nature of the response by Peter Sell to the
question ‘Do you think it is harder for men to make headway in this
profession?’ (Careerwise, 30 April).

As a male professional with over 15 years’ experience in HR, I have yet to
meet any female personnel professional who has come through the secretarial or
admin route. My colleagues – be they male or female – have chosen HR as their
career and have studied for their qualifications.

Laurence Crossan
Personnel manager, West Sussex County Council

Women in HR are not pink and fluffy

Many women in HR might progress from administrative or secretarial
backgrounds, but the implication that women lack motivation or qualifications
to make a contribution at a senior level is at best flawed.

If Sell refers further to his analysis of workplace trends, he will see it
is not only women who increasingly see their family responsibilities as
‘equally important’ to those of a lofty career in senior HR management.

He suggests that a career in HR is attractive to us motherly types because
of a perception that it is concerned with welfare. Quite right: welfare,
business performance, shareholder value, developing the capability and
motivation of the workforce, providing expert and relevant advice to the
business on people issues – and big pink fluffy cardigans.

Ann Knights
HR manager, Andersen

It’s demeaning to the profession

Peter Sell seems to be perpetuating some long outmoded notion of women taken
from a long-gone generation. Most of the people I know in HR are graduates with
CIPD qualifications – or at least studying towards it, regardless of whether
they are male or female.

His comment that ‘if you analyse the career path of women in HR, it is
likely that a high number came through the secretarial/admin route’ is
de-meaning to the many women who have outperformed and out qualified male

Stephen Harrison-Mirfield
Group HR manager, Codemasters

Women in HR are highly qualified

As advice to ambitious young men in HR, Peter Sell confides most board level
positions are held by men so there is no need to worry; women’s career
progression is via the back door of an admin position; and, women do not have
the qualifications or motivation to further their career because of family

I am completing the CIPD standard (having gained an honours degree in
organisational psychology) and I would be hard pressed to find a fellow student
who entered the profession via the admin route. These are highly qualified,
ambitious females who want to break glass ceilings, despite family commitments.

Monica Elston
Employment affairs adviser, Electricity Association

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