Letters

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article LettersOn 1 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today This week’s lettersEmployers should give the older workforce a chance I have a 30-year HR career building businesses in the finance, IT andtelecoms sectors in the UK, continental European and Asian markets. My role wasmade redundant and I hit 50 at around the same time. For the first time, I actively sought a job and aimed for a ‘head of HR’role in a medium-sized business, or a director in a larger organisation. Armed with guidance and advice from an outplacement firm, I built mymarketing plan, networked and attacked the market for both interim andpermanent roles. I was particularly unprepared for one specific response to my enquiries – Iwas too old. I had naively concluded my age wouldn’t be a problem. After all,successful businesses look for talent irrespective of race, sexual orientation,religious conviction, age etc. Don’t they? I guess there are genuine underlying reasons for this discrimination. Imight have to leave the company bash to catch the last train home. Then again,I might also manage to get some sleep over a weekend, and be slightly lessirritable than my younger colleagues most Mondays, which surely illustrates alack of team spirit. I might even have the occasional opinion that maychallenge a perceived wisdom. That would get me labelled as ‘set in my ways’,and veering towards inflexibility. Because I was ‘elderly’, I would be totally unaware of (and to be honest,uninterested in) swiftly forming and dissolving relationships and sexualtensions within the department, and there my judgement would almost surely beimpeded. As for my powers of concentrationÉ well, I’m not sure I can recallwhere I was going with that last point! Based on this analysis, maybe there is legitimate reason for practising agediscrimination while recruiting. I have to admit, there has been great sensitivity employed when drawing theproblem of my age to my attention. Here are a few of the more ‘creative’explanations as to why my applications didn’t succeed: – ‘The client was looking for someone at an earlier stage of their career’ – ‘The client was looking for someone who was more mouldable’ – ‘The client was looking for an up and comer, not someone who was alreadythere’ – ‘Most organisations would tend to recruit newer talent’ – ‘There isn’t enough clear space between your profile and the boss’s’ – ‘We have decided to go for someone who has longer-term possibilities’(good grief! Better take a closer look at the last medical report). Poetic, but frustrating. Based on my experiences, anti-ageism legislationcan’t come soon enough. Ian Clabby Details supplied Youth is not the only key to a skills crisis In his column, John Connolly highlighted the contraction of the EU’sworking-age population – a reduction of 40 million people in the next 50 years(Professional agenda, 4 May). But his assumption that the only solution to ourshrinking workforce is to invest increasingly more in younger people isshort-sighted. We need to extend working age and better utilise the workforces we alreadyhave. There is a pool of older, talented and experienced people who continue tobe excluded from the labour market. More than a million people aged 50-64 wouldwork if they could, and many over 65 would perhaps like the opportunity tocontinue working. Of course, there must be investment in the education and training of young people,but Connolly fails to acknowledge that the traditional employment model of ajob for life and retiring to make way for fresh blood is well past its sell-bydate. Employers and the Government must ensure that the whole workforce has theskills needed for work, whatever their age. Sam Mercer Director, The Employers Forum on Age Flexible work is not just a parental issue The article ‘Childcare? What Childcare?’ (25 May) rightly identifies abarrier to retaining and attracting good staff who might otherwise fall intothe ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of parenthood. But childcare isn’t just about crècheprovision or nursery vouchers. Certainly, at pre-school stage, parents want to maximise their time withtheir children and their income for childcare provision. However, once theystart school, pick-up times and long holidays dictate a different flexibleworking formula, and after the move to secondary school, those requirementschange again. Employers should start to look at the client requirements of their businessand think creatively around a 24/7 – or at least 24/5 – scenario. Thetraditional nine-to-five mindset suits very few as a rigid structure,particularly where companies operate across different time zones. Re-engineeredhours – and team-based, rather than dictated solutions – can increase bothflexibility and better service the needs of the business. Employers need to study their business culture, and make it less rigid andmore open to change. The workplace has changed dramatically in the past fiveyears, and smart employers will understand that change is on-going. Theevolving requirements of their staff and clients means that flexibility is theonly constant. Don’t make this an issue only for parents. Carol Savage Managing director, Flexecutive.co.uk Perseverance is the way to get on in HR I read Melanie Callaghan’s letter (Letters, 11 May) with interest. I too, found it extremely difficult to get my foot in the proverbial HRdoor, after completing a degree in business administration. Perseverance was mymiddle name for a good while after I left university, but I am glad to say thatit paid off, and after starting (and self-funding) my CIPD course in peoplemanagement and development, I managed to find a job as an HR assistant at theUniversity of Central Lancashire. It has proved to be the best move I ever made and I just wanted to assurepeople that it possible to progress up the HR ladder. You just have to keep atit and it will happen – eventually. Congratulations to Personnel Today for producing a fabulous magazine. Ithoroughly enjoy reading it every week! Liz Bush HR assistant, University of Central Lancashire Bogus data fee scam sets sights on h&s Following your past coverage of the scam of organisations receiving demandsfor payment for bogus data protection registration, they have now moved on tohealth and safety. We have just received a letter from something called the ‘Health &Safety Registration Enforcement Division, Rochdale’. It states we are notregistered as being compliant with the Health & Safety Act 1974, andtherefore risk up to two years imprisonment per offence, disqualification ofdirectors and unlimited fines. To avoid such actions, we should return a formwith a registration fee of £199 if we are compliant, or £249 if we feel we arenot! Evidently, yet another scam is trying to make a fast buck from employerswho are not fully aware of the legislation. Steve Chilcott HR manager ,Octavia Housing and Care last_img read more