International Journal of Selection and Assessment

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Volume 4 Issue 4 (October 1996), Pages 169-239

A Comparative Study of Knowledge of Changing Demographic Trends and the Importance of HRM Practices in Three European Countries (pages 184-194)

Recent changes in the demographic structures of industrialized nations pose a potentially serious threat to work organizations in terms of their ability to attract and retain high calibre personnel. Specifically, the number of young people in their late teens and early‐to‐mid twenties is on the decline at the present time, coupled with a long‐term recession, thus posing a dilemma for organizations concerned to develop and maintain a viable workforce. This article reports the findings of a three‐country comparative study, conducted in The Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, designed to investigate the extent to which graduate employers are aware of current demographic trends in the labour market and what HRM policies they are instituting, given this context. The findings reveal considerable levels of ignorance across all three countries, suggesting that attempts by various Government bodies, employers' organizations, professional associations and academics to draw attention to the potentially serious consequences of inadequate planning and future skill provision have largely failed. The results indicate that many organizations are engaging in human resource strategies which are not well suited to meeting the challenges of the 1990s.

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