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Think HR? Think again! Rumours of the CIPD's demise...

30th Sep 2010
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...are much exaggerated, not that you'd know it by the above, which was the headline of a press release from the CIPD this morning. Now if anything was going to put you off a career in HR it is that. In fact, I thought for a second the CIPD was calling it a day.

But no, depsite the misleading statement (I'm probably shouting into the dark here when I say please guys, drop the whole 'think HR, think again' thing) the CIPD is instead launching a new drive to attract talent into the profession, and I say - about time too!

I attended the national graduate fair in Birmigham earlier this year as a speaker to talk to graduates about modern media and breaking into journalism. I walked around the exhibition afterwards to see who was trying to attract the talent there and I noticed two major accounting bodies there ready to inform, and enthrall, no doubt, young people into the world of accounting. But no CIPD. I wasn't surprised as such, but I was disappointed. Even if you think HR is more interesting than accounting, we can't expect people to:

  1. Know what human resources is (it's not a school subject and it's not a high profile department)
  2. Realise the difference it can make to an organisation (if today's students ask their parents what HR is, what will they tell them? Probably not about how HR can transform a business, put it that way)

So how can they, and why should they, consider a career in human resources?

Personally, I'm pleased to hear the CIPD is planning on making some effort with graduates and other talent which might be considering making a move.

In the release, Georgina Kvassay, HR strategy adviser, CIPD, said: “We conducted research into graduate perceptions of HR in late-2009 and it highlighted that the three words most associated with HR were ‘dull’, ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘repetitive’. It’s clear that the CIPD needs to take a leading role in dispelling these misconceptions."

It's very clear. Of course the CIPD should be doing this. I feel quite supportive of the concept of the campaign - it's long overdue.

Click here
to see the new site and let me know your thoughts on it - do you like it? Would this have steered you into a career in HR? Will it work for today's students?


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Replies (3)

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By James Mayes
01st Oct 2010 09:29

 I very clearly remember asking my Dad what HR was, while I was still at school.  His response was succinct. HR are the people who won't use the word  F***, but will use the word redundant. When you hear one, the other isn't far behind.

Kinda put me off the profession, I'll be honest ;-)

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By alisonrbcm
02nd Oct 2010 16:59

I remember representing 'purchasing' at a graduate fair and was very disillusioned when the only people wanting to talk to me were wanting to go into 'fashion buying'. The queues for marketing were long as I expect would have been those for journalism. As much as purchasing and HR professional bodies need to engage graduates to help them understand the benefits I also think it needs a change of mindset within universities and schools. The Young enterprise scheme (that I'm a business adviser at a local school for) does try to bring business to young people. Universities also need to be more active in identifying all the options to undergraduates rather than support their beliefs about the sorts of jobs they want to do and those they don’t. I’m sure there’s a role for CIPS and CIPD in doing this too.

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By Ian
07th Oct 2010 12:05

I have never had problems in recruiting good people into HR, nor been unable to demonstrate my value to the various organisations I've worked for or with.  I am proud of my work.  The never-ceasing navel gazing and defensiveness about HR is irritating and generally seems to come from those held back more by mediocrity than unfair perceptions of HR.  It is frustrating that the CIPD seems to have accepted this dismal view of the world.   Highlighting and then trying to dispel a negative view of a product or service always seems a poor approach that smacks of desperation.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can't think of any great marketing campaign that has successfully used this approach. 

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