· Features

Here at HR magazine we have long believed in the power of untapped talent

As we limp out of recession, amid strong signs the recovery is going to be a 'jobless' one, it seems illtimed to write about swelling the number of people in the potential employee pool.

Take parents and carers. With so many full-time workers already unemployed, or under-employed, should we be actively encouraging such people back into the workplace through tools such as flexible working? Should we be deliberately targeting those outside the 'typical' working population, such as ex-offenders or ex-military personnel, to fill jobs when many others who have given so much (to employer and Revenue) find themselves on the work scrapheap through no fault of their own?

Here at HR we have long believed in the power of untapped talent. Yes, we need to tackle long-term and youth unemployment. Yes, the hike in the rate of under-employed is positively distorting unemployment figures, as recent ONS statistics show. And yes, we know the axe is yet to be wielded in the public sector.

Yet research also shows that two million new jobs will need to be created to keep up with demand in sectors set for future growth, such as hospitality, education, health and business services (UK Commission for Employment and Skills Working Futures 2007 to 2017). Moreover, there are plenty of studies showing the benefits of a diverse workforce: differing views bring new answers to problems, reflect an increasingly diverse customer base and help you keep ahead of your competition.

For this reason, we are launching a campaign to encourage HRDs to recognise one hidden pool of talent: ex military. Up to 24,000 personnel leave the Armed Services every year but many struggle to find careers. With some soldiers joining up at 16, they can face the difficulty of having to get a civilian job at the still-young age of 38. Our 'See the Best' campaign will celebrate those who are recognising the talents of these personnel. We are also encouraging employers to recognise the skills reservists can bring to their organisations (p22).

Shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May is a believer in the benefits of bringing talent back into business too. As she tells me: family-friendly is the way forward for UK plc (p30).

We also believe in diversity and you cannot have failed to notice changes to HR this month. We have more diverse opinions, from our new From the C-Suite column - letting you know what is keeping the country's CEOs awake at night - to our new commentator on responsible business.

Plus, to give you a deeper understanding about what line managers and MDs are thinking day to day, your new HR package now includes our sister magazine Management Today for free.

We hope you enjoy the changes to the magazine and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

- Sian Harrington, editor Sian.Harrington@haymarket.com