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Optimism in HR sector despite economic downturn

A sense of optimism is returning to the HR sector despite the poor economic climate, the Association of Graduate Recruiters has claimed.
Although 2010 will be a challenging year, Carl Gilleard, chief executive of AGR, said there was cause for hope that the industry would survive the downturn.
At the annual general meeting in London, Mr Gilleard revealed that he would be discussing graduate unemployment and measuring and recording student achievement and tuition fees with the Government next year.
He also said the AGR would be continuing to extend its international research and will continue to survey the UK graduate recruitment market in 2010.
He said they would be developing a new research initiative with the International Network of Graduate Recruitment and Development Associations, which will compare graduate vacancies, salaries and retention levels in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the AGR and its members and means that we will be able to lead the debate surrounding the extremely important issues that affect graduates and the graduate employment market,” Mr Gilleard said.
According to a recent study by Lancaster University Management School extra work has gone into boosting the number of graduates in employment, as hiring university-leavers has shown to provide firms a 500 per cent return on their investment in just three years.
And with the current difficulties faced by graduates in the poor economic climate, Gordon Brown recently announced a proposal to offer “high quality” internships and business training to any graduate who has been out of work for six months or more.

Premier League football clubs offer training opportunities

Four Premier League football clubs have announced they are to offer training opportunities to jobseekers to help them prepare for the workplace.

Chelsea, Everton, Sunderland and Portsmouth have signed up for a programme launched by the Department of Work and Pensions to offer long-term unemployed people a chance to boost both their employability and their health.

Under the scheme, called Premier League into Work, jobseekers will receive 10 weeks of training in aspects such as interviewing skills, job-search techniques and CV preparation, broken up by fitness training and football coaching. They will also get a two-week work placement with a local employer who has signed up to the scheme.

Launching the programme at Chelsea’s ground Stamford Bridge yesterday, employment minister Jim Knight said: “We are giving everyone the support they need to find work, and programmes like Premier League into Work will help us reach that goal. The project uses football coaching and wider training courses to develop skills and boost confidence which are vital to help people prepare for the workplace. Premier League into Work is a unique opportunity for jobseekers to improve their self-esteem, work skills and fitness levels. People on the course will work closely with football clubs and local employers to improve their chances of finding a job.”

Chelsea FC manager Carlo Ancelotti added: “I have seen first hand the huge amount of work that the club does in communities all over London, improving the lives of thousands of people. Chelsea is helping to give unemployed people the support they need to get back on their feet and find work again and it’s great to see the launch of the Premier League into Work project here at Chelsea.”

Source : CIPD

Avoid Secret Santa embarrassment

As the festive season strikes again human resources experts have come up with some sage advice… “When it comes to Secret Santa think PG-rating”.

Don’t buy anything for a colleague that you’d be embarrassed to show your mum. This advice from HR Consultancy Jaluch, follows a catalogue of Secret Santa blunders at local companies. Over the years Jaluch has heard of staff at local companies receiving chocolate body paint and other gifts with a sexual connotation, extra strong deodorant, a bottle of wine (given to a Muslim) and, in Scrooge-like fashion, an unwanted gift recycled from the year before.

Despite this 73 per cent of companies which responded to a recent Jaluch poll thought Secret Santa a great idea whilst only 17 percent believe it can cause more bad will than good and 10 percent deem it ‘highly inappropriate’.

Kathie-Louise Clarke, an HR Advisor at Jaluch, said: “Most people take Secret Santa in the spirit it is intended and we’d certainly encourage companies to continue the tradition. 

“However, it’s essential that Secret Santa is voluntary, not everyone celebrates Christmas and for some the cost of buying an extra present can be a burden. There’s also the potential to offend and what might seem a bit of light fun now could form a small part of a complex grievance later on.

“Part of the fun of Secret Santa is that staff all open their presents together at the Christmas party, choosing something with the potential to embarrass or offend or something that taps into a personal vulnerability could cause problems. If staff are in any doubt they should play it safe.” Other Secret Santa upsets include buying self-help guides, ‘how-to’ books, diet vouchers, nose and ear hair trimmers and political or religious joke gifts.

Source : The HR Director

Interim pay soars

The ‘War for talent’ is pushing up pay for interim managers working in banks by 50 percent. Rates are up to £1,500 a day, reflecting the growing power of “middle office” over trading and sales.

Financial services companies are engaged in a ‘war for talent’ which has driven pay for interim managers who specialise in risk and compliance work 50 percent higher over the last two years, says Interim Partners, the leading provider of interim management solutions.

According to Interim Partners, interim managers with risk and compliance experience were typically earning up to £1,000 a day before the credit crunch, but many are now earning up to £1,500 daily as demand for their skills intensifies. Andrew McIntee, Head of Financial Services Practice at Interim Partners explains that this increase in rates for interim managers in risk/credit and compliance reflects a dramatic overall shift in power to the “middle office” part of banks.

Says Andrew McIntee: “Whilst all the headlines focus on multi-million pound pay-outs to traders this has obscured the growing status and authority of the “middle office” within the investment and retail banks.” He continued, “before the credit crunch compliance and risk were sometimes seen as a necessary evil and were portrayed by sales and traders as a costly impediment to writing business – although they would have used stronger language!”

“Now the value of these previously unsung heroes is being recognised. They now have more say over what deals get done than at anytime since the last recession. The amount of US or UK government help that a bank has had to receive is largely put down either to the overall strength of their risk management or more specifically to the doggedness of their credit teams,  their ability to argue their case convincingly.”