Promotion? How Old-Fashioned
Trapp, Roger, The Independent (London, England)
So much has been written of late about the "end of work" that those about to graduate from university could be forgiven for thinking that they could be out of a job almost as soon as they have obtained one. The truth, however, is rather different - and a lot more complicated.
As a report published last week indicates, even with the growth of "outsourcing" and other trends, most of the workforce are likely to be employed in much the same way in 10 years' time as they are now. Moreover, it is arguable that those with better-than-average qualifications have greater opportunities than their predecessors now that the ranks of middle management have been thinned out.
What is changing, of course, is the level of qualifications considered out of the ordinary. Not so long ago, it seems, just having a degree from a reputable university put you in that bracket; now that needs to be combined with at least one of such attributes as a professional qualification or MBA, information technology expertise and a foreign language. The likes of "communication skills" and "people skills" are a given.
But for all these developments, companies are not rushing to abandon their old practices entirely. Research described by Cranfield School of Management's Noeleen Doherty at a seminar held by the Independent and the Association of Graduate Recruiters suggests that large companies accept the need to "attract and retain quality individuals to enhance their long- term competitive advantage" - even as the idea of jobs for life is disappearing.
"They need these people, they are the future," explains Ms Doherty, senior research officer at Cranfield's human resource research centre.
However, she and her team discovered that the traditional philosophy of the fast-track career is being challenged by changes in organisational structures and the prevailing concept of the career. The pressure for these moves is coming from two sources - external, as a result of the economic and competitive environment and the increased proportion of graduates in the workforce, and internal, via structural changes and reorganisations.
Among changes identified was a move towards organisations targeting specific universities. Nearly all the 20 organisations questioned still used the traditional milk round, but the volume of applications and concern about the overall quality are prompting many to look at recruiting more people from universities with which they already have close research links. …