This week’s letters

Letter of the week
Praising your bid to release talent

As a personnel manager living in an area where unemployment is so low it is
virtually zero, you can imagine that recruitment and retention of staff is a
daily issue.

Talking to my opposite numbers in similar organisations in the area, it is
obvious we are all fighting the same battle. None of us feel the answer lies in
poaching each other’s staff, as this does not resolve the real issue, which is
a lack of people available for work.

I fully support your move to get the Government to put systems and practices
in place to enable refugees and asylum-seekers to enter the workforce much
earlier. I also feel that if the British people can see they are not having to
support these people there will be less animosity towards them and the length
of time bureaucracy takes to reach a long-term decision about their future.

Congratulations Personnel Today. Keep up the good work.

Christine Sargeant
Personnel manager Fesa UK

Refugee skills audit is key task

It is important to ensure that employers do not shy away from employing
refugees when they might well be the answer to their organisation’s skills

That is why a skills and qualifications audit of refugee and asylum-seekers
is so important and is a vital task for councils to take on across the regions.

There is no doubt that employers are currently put off by the complications
of immigration law and other red tape, when there may well be a genuine
business case for employing refugees and asylum-seekers.

Socpo applauds Personnel Today’s campaign and supports the development of
regional skills databases and employment co-ordination for refugees.

Keith Handley
Socpo president and programme change director
City of Bradford MetropolitanDistrict Council

Undervalued UK staff moving on

I read your article Desperate bid for staff worsens war for talent with
interest (News, 19 June).

I think the point that many UK employers are missing when it comes to
skilled workers is one of personnel management. The average UK manager is more
concerned with his own ego, than the morale of his staff.

I am an independent contractor who left the UK about two years ago. The
reasons were:

– The cost of getting to and from work and stress involved with the current
state of public transport

– Lack of jobs in my local area (North West)

– Poor treatment by management

– Inland Revenue bully-boy tactics

– Quality of life

– IR35

The UK produces some of the finest skilled workers in the world. However,
most – like me – find that they are undervalued, and that the culture of
"jealousy" eventually drives them away.

I have heard several government ministers recently deny a mass exodus of
skilled people. This is ridiculous – if you go to any major European or North
American city, you will find large communities of British ex-pats.

Andrew Cowan
Via e-mail

Why is three the magic number?

I am very confused. I am a generalist personnel officer with two years’
experience, but when I apply for jobs I am told that I need to have three
years’ experience.

What is this talismanic transition that happens at three years? I was a line
manager and a project manager before moving into HR – why doesn’t that count?

What makes it even more intriguing is to read of the appointments of HR
directors who have no background in HR. It seems we use one set of rules for
the top end of the profession and quite a different set at the other.

Name and address supplied

Culture of stress needs taming

At the risk of offending the workforce, trade unions and general
practitioners may I make a public appeal for the regulation of the most
prolific growth area in industry today – stress. If stress were a public
company the shares would be worth a fortune!

Seriously, the point is not to be unsympathetic in cases of genuine hardship
but to be critical of a culture which encourages employees to disappear for
weeks, aided and abetted by their GPs, at the first sign of trouble.

Nigel Bannister

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