After the dramatic events of the last two to three years in Ireland’s ‘tiger economy’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that inflation was hardly their biggest worry. Indeed, Ireland currently had negative inflation at -2.9% for the year 2009 – the lowest figure in the EU. But a different kind of inflation – exam grade inflation – is currently front page news. Not just because the importance of a robust educational system is something the Irish value and are proud of, but because the credibility of exam grades – and the quality of the system’s graduates – is critical to future of a country where inward investment is critical for current recovery and future success “of a knowledge-based economy”.


There seems to be a real sense of urgency in the marketplace around holding onto key talent.  After the bloody and painful exercise most organisations have gone through (or are bracing themselves to confront) in making staff redundant, senior management are keen to keep the talent that is left. The first challenge is to make sure you know how to identify key talent, an activity filled with perils and pitfalls for those who do not know what they are doing, but a vitally important one.  As far back as the Romans, Cicero had drawn a conclusion that still possibly merits a place on the pinboards of HR departments:

Natural ability without education has more often attained to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.”


What does the recession give you? Apart from stress and anxiety, perhaps an excellent time to promote the cream – and to cut the (metaphorical) fat? Now I’m aware that I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here – and this isn’t the most sensitive time to talk about redundancies – but if there is an issue here, well … it might be food for thought.



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