· 2 min read · Features

Employers will miss out if they shy away from recruiting people who have been made redundant


British employers need to ignore the so-called 'redundancy stigma' and keep hiring people who have lost their jobs. It is of serious concern that the latest Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) research shows organisations are passing up the opportunity to recruit from an extensive pool of talented individuals, on the basis that they have fallen foul of the economic crisis.

Untapped talent is wasted talent. By failing to hire those who are long-term unemployed or, worse still, failing to hire at all, British businesses face an immediate skills shortage.

Despite the vast number of people evidently looking for work, recent research conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows 80% of organisations are still struggling to recruit. It is apparent that fewer opportunities for professional development have resulted in a lack of necessary skills and competencies among the available workforce.

As predicted, the failure of employers to address the need for effective talent management is beginning to have an effect on progress. As we have witnessed in key rural areas, where no opportunities for professional growth exist, people begin to look elsewhere. This is particularly true of ‘new starters' and the number of young people unable to find work continues to rise.

Official figures released by the CBI put the number of young unemployed 18-24 year-olds at almost 676,000 between January and March this year. This represents an increase of almost a third compared with the same period in 2008.

This figure is likely to surge again in the coming months as more young people leave full-time education. They face the prospect of a barren jobs market. As the situation intensifies, the outlook for this whole generation is potentially bleak and the resulting tax burden, as the state struggles to support all those out of work, will impact on us all.

Now more than ever, employers need to recognise the potential of both the young and the redundant. British businesses need to review their talent management systems and communicate them widely in order to attract those with the skills to bring us out of the slump. Despite tough economic conditions, the British job market must continue to evolve and the Government must acknowledge that without support for skills development our recovery will be protracted.  

Finally by subscribing to the highly dangerous concept of a redundancy stigma whereby individuals are written off without just cause, we will prove only that the lessons we learnt from the previous recession have all but been forgotten.

It is clear that with confidence in short supply and financial uncertainty still the order of the day; the urge for employers to batten down the hatches remains overwhelming. Yet this will not assist our recovery. Recruiting and retaining talent on the other hand, will help to ensure our workforce is in the best possible shape to meet the challenges of the current climate and move forward towards renewed competitive success.

Ruth Spellman OBE is chief executive at the Chartered Management Institute