2003 outlook bleak as conflict is set to grow

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Ithas been a tough year for HR. Employers have been loaded up with more red tapethan ever, and employee militancy has returned to the workplace Butthe biggest challenge for HR by far has been the economy. The downturn has runand run, and has ensured that recruitment and retention have dominatedeverything that HR has done.Nextyear could be more of the same, with the recovery hanging in the balance. Businessesare facing more taxes in 2003, including an expensive increase in theirNational Insurance contributions, and further cost-cutting will be needed (seepage one).  Worryingly,it could get worse. Ifhouse prices spiral, interest rates would be raised and consumer spending wouldpeter out. If we go to war with Iraq, oil prices would go up and confidencewould go down. In both scenarios, any signs of recovery would be wiped out. Amore optimistic interpretation – in this festive period – would see the threatof war diminish and house prices stabilise; positive signs in the US wouldspread, strengthening global markets; and redundancies would be replaced by thetriumphant return of a strong recruitment market. Whatdoes all of this uncertainty tell us? We have to be ready for every eventuality– good or bad. Whileplans have to be in place for an upturn, you also need the flexibility tohandle short-term pain. And it doesn’t matter which economist you talk to aboutthe next three to six months – it’s going to hard. Ifyou do have to shed people, make sure you lose the under-performers and the low-skilled.Talenthas to identified, retained and nurtured, and the opportunity should not bemissed to recruit more of it, in small amounts, of course. And all this has tobe achieved while trying to up-skill your workforce and improve productivity. Itis going to be a challenging year, but then would you want to do it if it waseasy? ByMike Broad 2003 outlook bleak as conflict is set to growOn 10 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more