- “Rewards by their very nature narrow our focus, concentrate the mind”
- “monetary incentives don’t work or often do harm”
Asking why there is a discrepency between ‘what science knows and what business does’.
(found via @EdwardMellett RT)
Asking why there is a discrepency between ‘what science knows and what business does’.
(found via @EdwardMellett RT)
Reading the comments on a recent Telegraph article (via RateMyPlacement’s tweet) someone mentioned that many companies either cutting back training or do not spend any meaningful amount on training at all.
It struck me as being very true, yet something I find quite staggering really. I know of a fairly small business consultancy but with major multi-national clients, who you’d think would practice what they preach to clients and invest time and money in ensuring their non-consulting staff are trained up in the latest techniques (especially for things like creating training materials/books etc. which require specialist knowledge and the latest software) but they don’t…
I’m sure many would ask “why waste money on training someone up for them to just walk out the door?”, to which I would say well they might… but surely by demonstrating your commitment to them (through training) they are more likely to stay and once trained should be more productive and produce higher quality work.
Companies may also say they are perfectly able to import the skills needed, through hiring people who are already trained and have X years experience. But doesn’t this lead to more people jumping ship? If you see a possible career advancement (if you were trained up) that kept getting filled by those from outside the business you are likely to leave. Probably costing more to the company through disruption and lost productivity than any training!
I could see it leadig to an endemic problem within the employment market, where eventually nobody will be able to join a company (especially at the slightly lower end) without so many years experience yet have no way to actually get that experience because no companies are willing to give people the opportunity to advance themselves. (It was nigh-on impossible for me to get an accounts assistant role as I had no relevant experience, apart from my degree and a non-relevavnt year-long industrial placement).
I firmly believe training of staff should be a key objective of all managers, start looking further than the upfront cost.
The Milburn Report looking at fair access to the professions raises some interesting points about internships and the barriers to wider take up of them. Here are some of my thoughts, building on those from the RateMyPlacement.co.uk blog post today:
I think one of the main barriers to entry for those seeking to get into the professions is a lack of knowledge of what opportunities are available, family contacts within those professions, and understanding of how to get in.
With a whole new generation of people being the first in their immediate family to go to university there is a massive group of people who don’t know what they have to be doing to get a good graduate job at the end of their university life. Those families who have experienced it know what they have to do and get out there and do it, this is where universities (and earlier) careers advisory services need to do a better job.
A lot of the time with the internships (Especially when younger) it is about who you know. Which naturally disadvantages those who have no contacts in that line of work (or don’t know they should be utilising them). The graph below show that around 15% of internships were secured through family and friends, I reckon that it’s actually quite a bit higher than this suggests (with people maybe applying online but then put down “my dad is head of ### dept.” and magically get accepted).
I agree about the 12-month industrial placements. I only applied to those university courses which gave the chance of taking a year out to gain some valuable work experience. Having gained great experience on my placement for a major car manufacturer, although not related to my accounting degree, I think everyone should be doing one. Although if everyone did one, there would need to be a massive rise in the number of placement opportunities available, as the competition is high enough as it is!
The experience you can gain from a year of working, doing proper work with a major impact on the organisation (like I was doing) not just little projects, is infinitely more valuable than 8 weeks over a summer holiday.
I wanted to read the actual document before commenting further. Which I have now done. The way it is set out in the policy document is a lot clearer than the couple of lines in Peston’s post (on which I based by initial reaction).
The idea of getting providers to send out a ‘price list’ and a breakdown of their usage over the previous year makes a fair bit of sense. As a first point it will help customers appraise their own usage and think about whether the deal they are getting now is right for them (although people having sound financial awareness would be a necessity in this case).
Although I am not so sure about forcing them to provide machine-readable raw data for customers to put into a price-comparison site. What format are they going to use that customers (non-technical included) are going to know what to do with, let alone have all institutions agree to implement a common format in the first place? Having the data organised in a standard way, allowing customers to manually plug in the numbers on a website would be perfectly acceptable. But what is to stop a financial institution from coming up with a revolutionary new type of charge, what happens then?
I am a bit uneasy about it being a statutory requirement, from a free-market point of view, as I think there are sound business reasons for companies to be more open and up-front about such things. If they believe in the service they provide to customers they should have nothing to fear from easier comparison, I think they should be doing it voluntarily. Bet they would like to not have to pay any commission too, so open-source comparison sites could be welcomed.
Definitely agree with the idea of cutting out the rating agencies. But that is a slightly different case from arguing for the consumer side of things as it will be ‘expert’ commercial entities doing the analysis and comparisons; not lay people. Will be interesting to see how they implement it!
It is all very well shifting, merging and renaming parts of different regulatory bodies but will that really make a difference to how well regulations are enforced. It is highly likely that the same teams at the FSA in charge of monitoring the banks will just move over to the Bank of England. So what is the point? As Peston notes – “the FSA now faces a nightmare few months: given the high probability that its days are numbered, retaining and recruiting staff will not be easy.” Will it do more harm than good?
On the increased information on products to consumers. What more detail can they give? Financial institutions are required to detail everything in the terms and conditions etc. Is it really that hard to work out at the moment? If it is go somewhere else.
The idea that price comparison websites will help consumers is rather worrying. They exist to make money – through commission and referral bonuses – and nothing else. I believe promoting them may cause more harm to the consumer finance industry (savings, credit cards, mortgages etc.) through an inevitable drive to the bottom in headline price. Surely one of the problems in the lending binge was the downward pressure on lending rates from the likes of Northern Rock forcing others to lower their rates (too far) or miss out on customers.
I don’t know nearly enough to comment on the macro-prudential regulation side of things so I won’t.
Check out Leigh Caldwell’s thoughts on the policy document, and why he believes the behaviour of financial consumers needs to hold greater consideration by regulators.
I thought it might be interesting to apply the strategy map idea to graduate recruitment (similar to my application of a strategy map in a news industry case study here).
Strategy maps are a tool that organisations can use for communicating both their chosen strategy and the processes, systems and skills that will be required to implement that strategy. They demonstrate “the cause and effect links by which specific improvements [in assets, processes and staff attributes] can create desired outcomes.” (Kaplan and Norton, 2000, p168). They give employees, at all levels, a clear view of how their jobs are linked to the overarching objectives of the organisation, hopefully allowing everyone to work in a cohesive manner towards achieving the organisation’s goals.
The Strategy Map, as a progression from the Balanced Scorecard, “show how an organization will convert its initiatives and resources – including intangible assets such as corporate culture and employee knowledge – into tangible outcomes.” (Kaplan and Norton, 2000, p168). The measures from an organisation’s balanced scorecard are based upon the strategy map, which connects the desired outcomes of the strategy with the measures which will drive those outcomes.
These are the points which I believe will, through a cause and effect relationship, allow the department and ultimately the whole organisation to meet its objectives.
Learning & Growth:
This is just a rough idea of what I think graduate recruiters should be aiming to do (although I only know it from the applicant’s side). The above strategy map is for the graduate recruitment team, but could be for the HR department as a whole. I see this as part of a wider company-wide process of looking at the organisation’s strategy as a whole, and then individual departments/divisions having their own strategy maps to allow for greater detail and relevancy for those employees to see how their roles “are linked to the overarching objectives of the organisation.”
Wimbledon doesn’t really show any signs of there being a recession on.
I thought we are supposed to be in a recession with everyone feeling the economic pinch and cutting back their expenditure? I went to the Wimbledon Championships twice in the last two weeks, and on that basis you would seriously question how bad this ‘recession’ is.
Firstly the numbers of people visiting… it was absolutely packed, it seemed much busier than in the last two years. On day two of the chamionships they had around 43,000 people come through the gates! That is around £1.25m per day (based on the pricing for the first 2 days and court capacities) in admissions alone.
If we do a quick and very rough calculation of people buying things there:
Now that is a very rough estimate (and I think on the low side) of what people might be spending on their day out at Wimbledon.
Personally, as a tennis player and fan, I think Wimbledon is very good value for what you get:
I started off this post planning to say that it is incredible that so many people have visited Wimbledon this year (in the heart of a recession) when it costs so much. But now I am not so sure, compared with other sporting events/entertainment it is actually quite good value. Football at Arsenal for example costs anywhere from £32-£92 for a 90-minute match…
It will be interesting to see how attendances at football stadia across the UK are affected over the first couple of months of the 2009/10 season. I predict falls (Except maybe for the very biggest clubs).
This is the latest post in the WikiJob Poll analysis series. This time I will be looking at WikiJob users’ views on whether or not the recession is over, and how that compares with other people’s views.
The latest poll asked “Is the recession over?” (with answer options of Yes or No) and as of writing this there have been a pretty credible 262 votes cast. With an overwhelming victory for those thinking the recession is not over yet; 216 votes compared with 46 votes for ‘Yes’ (see Chart 1).
I had been keeping an eye on the poll’s progress and that ratio has been pretty consistent from the very beginning so it would appear that WikiJob users have not experienced much, if any, of the supposed “green shoots” appearing in the economy.
The CBI recently announced that it believed the UK economy was stabilising but that we wouldn’t begin to see a return to growth until early 2010. (www.cbi.co.uk). This was based on the second quarter GDP and inflation results along with the CBI’s own forecasts.
On the 17th the Office for National Statistics released the latest unemployment figures with a rise in May of those claiming job-seekers allowance of 39,000, less than what some economists had predicted.
Most WikiJob users would, I guess, base their impression of the recession on their experiences and probably from a jobs perspective (given WikiJob is about jobs!). I am sure there are many students who have just finished their exams, and who have been unable to get a position lined up earlier in the year, who are now really stepping up their efforts in finding a graduate role, but coming up with limited opportunities and massive competition. The stats aren’t great: with a fall of nearly 5% in the number of 18-24 year olds in employment.
The poll results probably also reflect the industry preferences of the WikiJob users (see Chart 2).
With the users’ interest heavily concentrated in the financial and professional services industries [Accounting, Consulting and Banking account for over 2/3 of respondents]. I see the banking and consulting sectors as being particularly hard hit (out of the options), slightly less so the large accounting firms. But still none of these compare to the pain being felt in the manufacturing sector in particular by the smaller specialist manufacturers which the UK seems to specialise in.
From what I have read many, better-informed people than me, believe that while the economy is showing signs of stabilising and some even believe there may be some positive signs. But current students and recent graduates don’t seem to be experiencing these, and are currently pretty pessimistic. An interesting employer perspective I received in talking with graduate recruiters druing my job search was that those companies who completely cut their graduate recruitment following the dot-com crash found that in the last couple of years there is a dearth of people coming up through the ranks to occupy the vital junior/middle management roles, which was why they hadn’t cut their graduate recruitment this time round.
I will close with a couple of quotes:
Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “We are certainly moving in the right direction and this is one of a number of very encouraging signals that we have seen.”
and finally Stephen Boyle, Head of RBS Group Economics, said in his UK Monthly Economic Update “Signs of stabilisation are one thing, a sustained recovery is an entirely different matter as demand conditions remain weak. The sustained upward movement in long-term interest rates in recent months threatens to pour weed killer on any green shoots…”
Good luck in your job hunting, many jobs are still out there, at least you are giving yourself an advantage with the fantastic resources available on Wikijob and its forums.
WikiJob Stats Man (read more of my thoughts at richardthinks.wordpress.com)