Tag Archives: recruitment

Public Sector Pay – Time to redress the balance.

For too long we have been operating in the UK a publicly funded job creation scheme, which in itself would not be such a bad thing were it not for the fact that those taking from and taking out of the public sector would appear to be entirely motivated by money.  That, in public service, is fundamentally wrong.

The median average hourly rate of pay in the public sector is 30% higher than the private sector.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12549785

We had last weekend the well publicised story of the former leader of South Somerset District Council leaving his post and accepting a pay off in salary, redundancy payments and pension contributions of £569,000 after 6 years service.

Yes, that’s right, you read it correctly, FIVE – HUNDRED & SIXTY NINE THOUSAND POUNDS!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8342025/Council-boss-who-got-record-pay-off-in-line-for-another-lucrative-position.html

My issue is that none or certainly nowhere near enough of the money that is spent on wages in the public sector goes to those that deserve it most.  Nurses, Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters.  There are countless others I can add to that list.  These are the people that should be reaping the benefit of the increase in standards that we have seen in the last 10 years in public sector pay and conditions.  So why aren’t they?

The problem is that those that enter public service in these posts do so generally out of a sense of vocation, purpose and to serve others.  They don’t do it first and foremost for the money, they do it for a whole host of other reasons.  Therefore they tend to be at the back of the queue when it comes to being rewarded for the great work that they do.  They deserve a great wage for doing great work.  They don’t get it.  That sucks.

I don’t buy the argument that Public Sector bodies need to pay great salaries to attract great talent at the top.  If you are motivated by money ( and there is nothing wrong in that ) then by all means stay in the private sector, take your risks, take your chances and fill your boots.

If you are motivated by a desire to serve the greater good and public service ticks that box for you then by all means go run a hospital, a local council, but why on earth should you even think you should be paid more than the Prime Minister for doing so?  Who is running the remuneration committees in these organisation?

Certainly don’t walk away with in excess of 1/2 million quid for voluntary redundancy when the vast majority of those in your employ are earning less than 25 times that number!  That disgusts me.   It smacks of greed, lining of one’s own pocket from the public purse.  I know it happens, it is just not right and something needs to be done to stop it.

I would be delighted were I to be evidencing the average median hourly rate in the public sector was 30% higher than the private sector because nurses were paid so much more.  That figure is so high because those at the top have their noses in the trough, and its our trough.

If the CEO of a FTSE 100 company is being paid millions that is an issue for his or hers shareholders.  It is their money, not mine ( unless of course they are a bank! )  Time to redress the balance.  Give the money to those that deserve it most.  That is the basis of great public service.

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Filed under Careers, Remuneration

The EU, Quotas and an apology

A health warning on today’s post, for two reasons.  First, expect a rant.  This morning two of my favourite subjects caught my eye, the European Union and the subject of quotas.  Second, be prepared for an admission that I might have been wrong.

Shocked?  You should be.  I suspect this may be my first public admission of my own fallibility since 1987 ( I lost an argument over which one of the Farris Brothers played lead Guitar in INXS , it was Tim, not Andrew ).

Back to matters at hand.  Namely the EU and Quotas.  So here we go.  Ready, aim…….

Wait a minute.  Here comes the admission.  It looks as though for once I owe our good neighbours ( in that enormous waste of our hard-earned cash, I had to get it in somewhere ) in Brussels an apology.  It seems that for once they might actually be needed to do some good.

The subject of quotas is on the Agenda again and I am not talking about Fish Stocks.  This time it is back to the issue of diversity in the workplace, in particular in the boardroom.

3% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are Women.  In Europe, only 12% of Board posts are occupied by Women.  In the UK, the picture is a little better.  In the FTSE 100 the number of women in Board Posts is up in the last 10 years from 6.9% to 12.5%.  A step in the right direction, but there are still only 79 female Executives on the Board of Britain’s largest companies.

It makes no sense.  This is not 1811, this is 2011.  Organisations the world over are ignoring 50% of the population when it comes to picking top talent.  The debate rages on and yet little changes.  It’s a nonsense.

A 2010 report by McKinsey stated

“Operating results of companies which have greater gender diversification are 56% higher”

In 2007, A Goldman Sachs report evidenced

“closing the gender gap could boost U.S. gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, by as much as 9%, and up to 13% in the euro zone”.

Based on the stats, business doesn’t seem to be getting the message that Talent is not defined by gender, race, sexual orientation or religious belief.  It is not defined by geography or culture, by nationality or heritage.  Get the message, pick the very best you can afford to deliver the very best value to shareholders, customers, employees, the wider world.

I don’t want to be told who to hire.  I don’t believe in quotas, it encourages all sorts of problems when it comes to hiring, but if the message doesn’t get through, politicians will step in and a quota is what we will get.  Politicians and Business don’t mix (with any degree of success).  Quota’s and Business don’t work.  If Business Leaders don’t wake up, then a quota is what we will get and we have only ourselves to blame.  For once, the politicians might just be right.

I’ll leave you with a sense of just what we are up against in the battle to get this message through.  Recently Josef Ackerman, CEO of Deutsche Bank, was reported to have commented that having more Women in the Board Room would make board meetings “prettier and colourful”.  I’ll leave you to make your own judgement.

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Filed under Corporate Governance, Employee Engagement, Hiring

Work / Life Balance; Fact or Fiction

So just what is this thing we call work life balance?  Does it even exist?  Is it something that deep down we all know that we should aspire to, or even better should actually achieve?  Are we scared to try?

In this last couple of years its gotten harder for sure.  The work place has gotten tougher, business has gotten tougher, just hanging in there has gotten tougher.  Technology has advanced to such an extent that the line between work and home has gotten ever more blurred.  Will we ever find the answer?

There is no such thing as perfect work life balance.  Don’t let anyone ever tell there is.  This is not something that can be answered in a text book.  Do your best to do what works for you.  Do your best to do that which leaves you fulfilled.

Regular Readers now my views on TED talks.  Simply awesome.  Here Nigel Marsh, Author of “Fat, Forty and Fired” gives his take on the ongoing battle for work / life balance.  Give this a look, it leaves you asking some challenging questions as to just how you spend your time and why.

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Filed under Corporate Governance

Permanent Recruitment rising at its highest rate in 6 months

The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation / KPMG Labour Market survey is published today.  It evidences the number of people securing permanent employment rising at its fastest rate in 6 months.  Permanent hiring grew to 57.4 on January’s index (anything above 50 represents growth), up from 54.9 in December (no surprises here, December has always been a slow month for permanent hires).  The previous high had been 56.3 in August 2010.

The number of people securing permanent employment has been rising for 18 months.  What this report doesn’t tell us is what percentage of these hires are full-time versus part-time.  However the number is growing.  Sure, if you are out of work it is not growing fast enough, but it is growing.  Sure we have yet to feel the impact of the Governments Austerity measures on public sector employment, but the number of people gaining permanent jobs is growing and has been for 18 months.

So who is hiring?  IT, Accounting, Engineering and Construction were highlighted as those sectors growing permanent hires at the fastest rate and in the highest numbers.  Boardroom Hiring was also evidenced as on the increase.  So business is hiring.

The more we hear about a jobless recovery, the more we are likely to have one.  The more people hear the economy is weak, the less confidence they have to hire.  I am not suggesting that the media should lie ( heaven forbid! ) I just think more attention, column inches and air time needs to be given to the positives when they appear.

On the strength of this survey, there is good news to be found in the employment market.  Lets not hide our light under a bushel.  We don’t know for how long it may last but for now, shout it loud, permanent employment is rising at its fastest rate in 6 months.  Long may this trend continue.

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Filed under Hiring, Job Creation, Recruitment

When it’s time to go, move on. Career lessons from Fernando Torres.

For months I have watched Fernando Torres body language.  He looked dis – engaged, disenchanted, de – motivated, defeated.  He is a wonderful footballer, a superstar of the beautiful game.  He is adored by hundreds of thousands, maybe millions.  For Liverpool fans he has, along with Steven Gerrard, been thought of as the man who would bring the glory days back to a club steeped in history as the most successful in the English national game.  It never happened.

Torres is a huge talent.  Yet everything about him suggested he didn’t want to be there.  He was in a job he loves with an employer he didn’t because he he was not fulfilled, unable to realise his ambitions.

In recent months he did little to contribute to ensuring those ambitions could even come close.  Football is a team game.  Resentment amongst colleagues, no matter how big a reputation you may enjoy, soon starts to build if you are not pulling your weight.  It was obvious his mind was elsewhere.  It was time to go.

Life is just too short to hang around.  The majority of us spend more of our waking time at work than doing anything else.  If you are unhappy, move on.  Move on before it becomes to late, move on your own terms, don’t wait for someone to move you on theirs.  My sense is that we will now see a revitalised Fernando Torres, much to the delight of Chelsea Fans and the chagrin of the red half of Merseyside.  It matters not how talented you are, if you are in the wrong place, your form will suffer.

Don’t let that happen to you.  If you are unhappy, take action.  It might be a move internally, it might be a discussion with your Boss, but do something.  Be professional, be dignified, hold your head high and take action.  You have a choice.  When it’s time to go you know.  Don’t leave it to late.

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Filed under Careers, Employee Engagement

Employers Charter – A step in the right direction.

Yesterday saw David Cameron announce The Employers Charter, measures announced to give businesses added confidence to grow and create jobs.

Something had to be done to stem the flood of applications to Employment Tribunals witnessed in 2010, which increased 56% on 2009 to 236,000.  The average cost to employers to defend themselves was £4000.

it is absolutely right that legislation exists to protect hardworking, dedicated employees from those less scrupulous employers.  However the balance had been lost, the power placed squarely in the hands of the employee.  Employers of all shapes and sizes had become nervous, fearful even, of dismissing an under – performing employee for fear of the repercussions.

That is not healthy.  It certainly does nothing to encourage employers to hire.  Quite the opposite.  It costs nothing for the under-performing employee to launch a claim.  That in itself encouraged a whole host of “chancers” to pursue a payout, having been advised by the no – win no fee brigade that they had nothing to lose to pursue a claim.  The wasted management time was enormous, the legislative cost vast, nobody wins.

The answer to this has been to introduce the prospect of a fee for employees to fight an unfair dismissal claim.  A great idea, certain to prevent any such chancers from trying their luck.  Those that know or can be advised that they have a genuine case for unfair dismissal will pursue such a claim and have every chance of winning, rightly so.  Employers are afforded a greater degree of protection and will as a consequence feel more confident about the prospect of hiring.

To add to that confidence is the proposal that companies would have greater freedom to dismiss under – performing workers, extending the current period from one to two years.  I am not convinced this measure is necessary.  If someone is not performing in your business, you know early enough.  If they have been performing and after a period of say 12 months that performance starts to tail off, it is managements responsibility to look at the reasons behind that decline and to performance manage that employee back to “health”.

After all, you have invested enough time, money and resource getting them through the door, getting them trained and in to the DNA of your business that it is absolutely right to support them.  Still the principle behind the move strikes me as a positive one, business friendly, jobs friendly.

If you are a committed, motivated, hardworking employee you have nothing to fear in the new legislation.  I for one applaud these steps.  We have allowed an entitlement culture to develop.  If something goes wrong, who can I blame?  How much can I get?

A nonsense.  If you are a responsible, hardworking, decent, honest person then you have nothing to fear in this change.  If you are the kind of person who thinks life owes them a living, then I am afraid you are wrong and you will get what’s coming to you.

I am all for the Employers Charter.  The reaction from business and employers groups would appear to be broadly supportive.  A step in the right direction.  Next step, tackle the cost of employing someone and reduce the cost of Employers NIC’s.  Now there’s a thought!

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Filed under Hiring, Job Creation

How to ace a job interview

Everyone is looking for that nugget of gold, that stellar piece of information that can fundamentally transform your interview technique to become an absolute sure-fire interview winner. I am sorry, there aren’t any, no startling revelations, no lightning bolts.

Like all good things, success at interview is about keeping it simple. Pay attention to the basics, the little things, the details. And repeat. Over and over again, until you are set in to a routine that you know works for you, that gives you confidence, makes you comfortable.

So what are those basics?

I came across this excellent resource, www.howdini.com the site that encourages you to “get yourself a guru”. So what’s there take on the job interview? See for yourself.

Let me know what you think, as always I would love to hear your comments.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Filed under Interviews