Skills not neglected by business, insists CIPD

Chief executives are not allowing talent management to take a back seat during the recession, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has insisted.

Challenging a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which revealed that workforce skills have dropped from being CEOs’ top concern to only their seventh priority, the CIPD has said talent management is not being neglected by employers.

A separate study of 900 employers published by the CIPD yesterday (23 March) highlighted that 70% believe learning and development remains a high priority regardless of the economic climate, while only one-third said funding for training had been reduced this year.

Claire McCartney, learning and development adviser at the CIPD, told Personnel Today: “Talent management is still really important for the CEOs and is still a priority, but they are thinking of spending less money on it and delivering it in slightly different ways.

“More emphasis is going on in-house development which is less costly, and actually many employers consider it to be more effective anyway. They are taking a more intelligent approach to talent management.”

But, Michael Rendell, partner and global head of HR at PwC, warned that there was a “misalignment” between HR functions and their CEOs about talent management, and called for more communication between the two to ensure they are working to the same budgets and strategies.

He told Personnel Today: “Talent management has slipped down the list of CEOs’ priorities. They are in survival mode. This year is right in the middle of the economic storm and so they are concentrating on how the business survives over the next 12 months, rather than over the next few years.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, which has tried to encourage more employers to take up training despite the economic downturn, added: “A failure to train now will mean when the economy begins to grow again we won’t have the skilled workers we need to seize the opportunities that growth presents. Businesses that continue to invest in their people during the hard times will emerge as winners when the good times return.”

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