Shadow business secretary warns recession means tough times for HR

Avoiding employment tribunals and embracing flexible working are the biggest challenges for HR professionals in the upcoming recession, a senior MP has said.

Alan Duncan, the shadow business secretary, told Personnel Today the economic slump will not make work any easier for personnel managers.

“I’ll say it’s a recession, if not a slump,” he said in an interview. “It may be that the biggest challenge [HR professionals] face is avoiding additional costs like employment disputes and tribunals, which cause a lot of problems to people and companies.”

“Additionally, there will be a challenge in coping with new flexible working laws and arranging things so that people can still work, but work less, so both the family and company can survive,” he said.

Duncan added that an HR department was often a luxury reserved for rich employers, although it was well worth it.

“You’re very lucky if you’re in a company that can afford to have an HR function,” he said. “Those who are HR professionals are essential and important to any employer because they can get through the [legal] minefield. If you don’t have an HR department or personnel skills, often times it blows up.”

Last week, Gordon Brown and Bank of England governor Mervyn King said they believed the country was heading for a recession.

Preliminary figures from the Office for National Statistics show Britain’s output declined by 0.5% last quarter, the first time since 1992 that the economy had contracted.

Comments are closed.