Case for a National Talent Management Office

I did write about this before, but newspapers everyday are sore reminders of how badly this is needed. Living in Britain of today isn't very different from the experiences of British observers in India in the late Seventeenth century - a rich society immersed in the luxuries of life, and yet oblivious of the growing threat to its prosperity. A society in denial - in short! Yes, it was not so obvious to British observers travelling to India then, but should be clear to us now with the benefits of hindsight, but hardly anyone seems to care.

Today's news is that of Conservatives accusing Gordon Brown that during his Chancellorship of last eleven years, most of the newly created jobs have gone to immigrants. The British people, they say, have moved on to benefits and lived a life of 'poverty'.

Well, honestly, conservatives being what they are, they don't even know the meaning of this word 'poverty'. Yes, indeed, living in municipal housing and receiving a payment end of the week for doing nothing is poverty, but not of the kind the word implies to the rest of the world. Immigrants are alternately accused of free-loading the public services and stealing jobs, both of which can not be simultaneously true.

Gordon Brown obviously can claim being hard on the immigrants too. He, after all, abolished the 10p Tax rate, and effectively doubled the taxation of immigrant women who worked part time to make ends meet. He did offset this draconian measure by offering more benefits to 'hard-working families', though immigrants being mostly excluded from benefits, those hard-working families mostly live in the government houses and read football news for work. He tightened the immigration system too, made it hard for people to come legally into Britain, and dis-incentivized the skilled workers from coming altogether.

However, in today's world, managing immigration is talent management, a job that requires skill, sensitivity and imagination. I am an immigrant myself and I must state my case - most immigrants work hard, live legally and peacefully and contribute the most in terms of taxes. They keep the house prices and rents up, inflation down, curries served and roads cleaned. Without the immigrants, there will be no public services. If the immigrants left the town, 'British people' will not come back to the workforce - they will claim higher benefits as the cost of living will go up.

As a skilled immigrant, I had choices of other countries, and I chose Britain because of cultural familiarity. However, the inconsistency and insensitivity of the government to the issue of immigration, the tendency to paint all immigrants with the same brush and this 'stealing jobs' argument are simply annoying. I am familiar with other skilled migrants who will go through a longer waiting period to go to Australia or Canada, which presents a more humane approach to immigration. The national statistics already indicate that many of the East European migrants who came to Britain after 2004 have already gone back. The point everyone seems to miss is that this isn't a good thing.

The great Mughal kings did not see it coming, but Gordon Brown as well do. The competitiveness and the long term well-being of Britain is under threat. One can wrangle about statistics, but step inside any NHS hospital and you know what I mean. It isn't any secret also that the great American prosperity in the 20th century coincided with the great wave of skilled migration from Europe in the wake of the great wars. [One wonders whether the decline of this great power will also coincide with the chauvinism and closed doors culture, which preceded Europe's decline]

Time Mr. Brown enlists some help and this needs to come from Talent Management experts. One suggestion: Jose Maurinho is still looking for a job.


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