Thursday, 17 November 2011

Youth Unemployment, #CIPD11 and #ConnectingHR


   My favourite post from CIPD11 was probably this one from Graham Salisbury: Executive Pay: The Subject Which Must Not Be Named in which Graham questions the absence of discussion on today’s absurd levels of executive reward and obscene differentials between the highest and lowest paid in UK society from the CIPD conference’s agenda (possibly due to the CIPD’s own differentials perhaps?).

But for me, the other even bigger issue that was missing from the conference, not unlinked to the above is the truly dreadful level of youth unemployment which reached 1 million yesterday.  And it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better – the CIPD’s labour market outlook suggests that employers are continuing to hedge their bets on all employment related decisions leading to a slow, painful contraction in the jobs market.  It’s even leading to concern about creating a permanent underclass excluded from the prospect of employment.

This also came up at a session organised by Demos (and supported by the CIPD) on youth mobility which I attended yesterday morning (you can see my write up of this at Social Advantage).

Well even if the CIPD aren’t going to do anything about (though they have published some useful insights youth employment here), ConnectingHR will!  Following the community’s focus on graduate unemployment at our last unconference, we’re now planning a more serious intervention to help a number of grads get jobs, or at least get more prepared to be part of the workforce,  My own hope for this is that these largely individual actions will lead to some great community-wide conclusions, and we can perhaps put together our first ‘research’ report half-way through next year – and therefore have an even bigger impact outside of the community as well.

If you want to know (or do) more, particularly if you’re in London / the UK, check out over the next few days, and join us there as a member too.


Picture credit: The Telegraph


  • Consulting - Research - Speaking - Training - Writing
  • Strategy - Talent - Engagement - Change and OD
  • Contact me to create more value for your business
  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com



  1. Hi Jon, I read your posting on Social Advantage and I'd like to join this debate. You quote:

    "There isn’t a solid enough business case to invest in social mobility at the moment, particularly when many of them are just trying to stay in business. I agree that talent management professionals should have a longer-term focus but I don’t think this is the right time to ask".

    I have to fundamentally disagree with you on this point. Leaders of organisations have the power to create change (yes, you mention that organisations have to change the way they work) but you're missing out on the wider opportunity of reaching out not just to grads, but to all the unemployed youth. I applaud you in your efforts to help graduates get jobs, but this raises an even bigger question. What about those young people who are ruled out by society altogether - don't they deserve just as much of an equal chance of a decent career? When is the right time to ask, I'd like to know. Shouldn't we be investing in all young talent now?

    With regard to the business case, I am shortly going to be writing up an exclusive interview with an HR director of a top retailer where they put young people who come from poverty, who haven't had opportunities to a decent education and perhaps come from broken and extremely dysfunctional backgrounds, through a work experience programme and then go on to recruit them in full-time positions. This programme has shown to increase employee productivity, engagement, retention and is a desirable talking point at interview for new employees joining the organisation. You need to see the bigger picture. Investing in social mobility demonstrates that leaders have real values, are authentic, care about their people, this in turn leads to increased engagement, innovation, passion and creativity.

    I ran a big campaign on "Life changing: investing in the next generation of talent" shortly after the riots occurrred: "Investing in the next generation of talent where I profiled social entrepreneurs as well as HR leaders who get this including HR director Jean Tomlin of LOCOG... Download the full PDF at the bottom of this link to see the exclusive HRD interview with LOCOG...I'd love to get your feedback on these stories...


  2. Thanks Natalie, appreciate and love your comments, although re not seeing the big picture - I OWN the big picture! I'll come back and explain that a bit more, and explain my point on the business case too, a bit later on....

  3. Thanks Jon. Lots of HR bloggers are commenting on this highly political issue. There are some great leaders who are true advocates of social mobility and I've been profiing some of them because what they do hugely impacts on society and community. I have lots to say on this as you can tell. Here are a couple of other recent postings from other bloggers:

    Discuss HR: Lost generation

    The Cynical Girl: Discrimination against the unemployed

  4. Thanks again Natalie, I've now commented on your earlier comment over at my other blog:


Please add your comment here (email me your comments if you have trouble and I will put them up for you)