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Guesstimating the future of jobs: The plan for your kingdom

I used to think the British were typically restrained and conservative, especially with regard to making provocative comments about world events. Well, it seems as though the recession may be having an effect on even the usually stoic British.

Last week, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) came out with a prediction that there would be 500,000 public sector job cuts in the next five years. First off, don't confuse the CIPD with the CPID, (Chartered Personnel Institute of Development), or the CIDP (Chambered Institute of Development for Personnel). Totally different organizations.

What was most significant about this announcement was that The Recruitment & Employment Confederation's (REC) Chief Executive, Kevin Green, responded quickly with the following:

"The REC is stressing that deep-rooted reform is the only way to protect service delivery as nee-jerk cuts will not deliver sustainable employment or great public services." He continues, "Effective procurement, well-managed outsourcing models and flexible staffing arrangements will be core elements of new resourcing strategies over the coming years. This is where the debate must focus rather than on 'guestimating' on numbers of job cuts."

Well done, old man! A couple of things are significant here:

    • He notes that knee-jerk cuts will not enable sustainable employment or great services. Simply cutting jobs won't get us there. Deep-rooted reform, or a meaningful change in the way we do things is needed. "Ni"-high socks worn by knights, however, will still remain in fashion for the foreseeable future.

    • Effective procurement, outsourcing and flexible staffing models are "core" elements. This means that if these strategies are not being discussed and understood at the highest levels of the company, they won't become core, and you won't be able to execute the reforms you need. While they may be guilty of repressing the peasants at times, without the Queen's or King's blessing, little really gets done.

    • Note his use of "guesstimating" in that last sentence. No doubt, Mr. Green is on administrative leave without pay for the "ill-advised and right-improper use of slang" and has likely been sentenced to a thorough taunting by French soldiers. But the point is, in the end, all of these predictions are just guesses, not a basis for a business strategy.

His butchering of the Queen's English aside, Mr. Green is spot on with his recommendations. Rather than trying to wrap our brains around the enormity of the numbers, the focus has to be on reforming business as usual and looking for long-term strategies that can help level out the peaks and valleys we are still likely to see.

So while the CIPD is focused on the cuts and probably looking for some Holy Grail to save the economy, the REC is looking to storm the castle and bring real reform to the people. If you want to lead your organization's quest for recruiting and retaining great talent, take a page from the Book of Armaments and use the Holy Hand Grenade to blow up your current plan and look for opportunities to outsource and better manage the procurement of talent throughout your kingdom.

By the way, don't listen to the Employment & Recruitment Confederation (ERC) on this. They released a statement disavowing any association with the REC and calling them "empty-headed animal food trough wipers."


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