This week’s letters

Shift of focus wins graduate talent

I write in response to the insightful article by Simon Howard on the
graduate recruitment market (10 July).

As the UK’s largest graduate recruiter, PricewaterhouseCoopers is at risk of
being included in Mr Howard’s observations and I wish to redress the balance on
the issue of responsiveness with some brief illustrations.

PwC is a founding employer partner in the "Insight Plus"
initiative, due to launch this Autumn. This addresses the need for students to
gain workplace experience through part-time work.

Ethnic diversity projects run by groups of UK universities are also
supported by PwC staff in the role of mentors.

The point Mr Howard makes about consistency of relationship is central to PwC’s
strategy and universities are regularly consulted in respect of PwC’s graduate
recruitment activities.

The firm’s autumn 2000 intake of over 1,000 graduates encompassed 91
different UK higher education institutions and staff involved in the selection
process receive updates on higher education in the UK and the changes which in
turn inform the firm’s approach to graduate recruitment.

Jackie Alexander
Recruitment partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Of the many relevant points made by Simon Howard in his article, the most
significant was that a lot of graduate recruiters still see their focus as
"the top 10 per cent off the top 10 per cent".

This simplistic assessment of how to target graduates continues to underlie
the failure of many recruitment systems.

Those who have grasped that the "top" graduates are the
"right" people for their needs are meeting with the most success.

Structured analysis of what a business wants from its graduate recruits and
getting honest messages to them about what is on offer, characterises effective
graduate recruiters.

Tim Treadwell
Course director, POC Training & Consulting

Time to act over sloppy grammar

I can’t agree more with Mary Brown’s thoughts on today’s grammar (Letters,
31 July).

I thought I was the only person to get depressed at the epidemic of wrong
use of the apostrophe. Who on earth started the belief that plurals should
contain apostrophes? When is someone going to champion the teaching of correct
grammar again?

Lyn Ferguson
Personnel director, Schuh

Stress: a very real workplace issue

Although I respect the views of Nigel Bannister (Letters, 24 July), I feel
it is fair to address the reality of stress in the workplace since I have
first-hand experience of the damaging effects of what is a greatly
misunderstood issue.

Employees often go to their GP suffering from long-endured backache, an
inability to sleep or inexplicable worry. If the worker does not address the
issue quickly, they are often diagnosed as suffering from depression – a
reaction to the stress that they didn’t realise they had.

In my experience, staff do not take leave "at the first sign of
trouble" – enforced time off is normally the last resort.

Mike Davey
Performance Through People, Walsall

Overseas posting support essential

Your article "Who dares travel?"(Features, 26 June) rightly
suggests that employer support is critical to the success of an international

A long-term posting can be hard on employees and their families and
employers should not underestimate the difficulties.

Providing support, while not a guarantee of success, greatly reduces the
risk of failure. Communication before, during and after the posting is
essential if companies are to retain the skills they have developed.

Andrew Finney
Managing director, HCR Relocation Specialist

Euro entry quote out of context

I refer to Mr Kichenside’s letter (30 May) concerning a quote from me which
appeared in an earlier news story.

My comments in the article had been cut. I was commenting on an RCI survey,
where the respondents feared entry to the euro would raise employment costs.

There is no reason why UK entry to the euro should in itself increase the
cost of employing people. It is more rational to identify sources of cost
pressures which might, for example, include higher social security charges and
taxation to improve public services and more extensive European legislation on
work practices. These pressures may produce increased employment costs
irrespective of whether or not the UK adopts the euro.

While there would be some costs to UK businesses when converting payrolls to
the euro, the on-going savings from not dealing in different currencies would
need to be added into any calculation.

I can assure Mr Kichenside that neither I nor my colleagues inhabit an ivory
tower. He is very welcome to visit me at Cranfield to confirm that this is the

Shaun Tyson
Cranfield University School of Management

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