Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The way things used to be

In the dim & distant past, you joined a company from school or university, and worked your way through to the gold watch or the sack. About 15 years ago, I was at an induction course to a large consulting firm, and the managing partner told us that unlike his generation, we would probably change jobs every 5 years and careers every 10. Even that now feels a bit conservative.

The prevailing mindset in the capitalist parts of the globe is "every man for himself". It is up to the individual to ensure that he is employable and then employed, and to keep his skills up to date. Anyone who does not believe this is about to have that belief tested by the effects of the recession.

Paradoxically, at the same time as companies have moved away from taking an embracing responsibility for their employees, they have moved - or been pushed - towards taking greater care of their social and physical environment. Whether or not corporations are best placed, or appropriately incentivised, to do this is a moot point. It's often touted as a great way to attract good staff - by inspiring them with your social conscience.

Perhaps if we went back to looking after staff in the first place ...