HR and CSR: the perfect matrimony or the bitter end?

In my role, I find myself in offices, meetings or networking events with one of two individuals - either in HR or CSR - sometimes both. More often than not now, I am finding that the two sides of the company - once split - are merging, or at least, coming together, when it comes to working with young people. And why is this? Quite simply: Apprenticeships.

Whilst we’re still awaiting the next stage of information from the government about the Apprenticeship Levy, it’s becoming more apparent that the role of the recruiter is changing - and that they are having to harness the knowledge and experience of those who’ve been working with students, schools and young people for years - the CSR teams. Some are saying that CSR will move over and let HR take over therein, and is possible that many HR teams will start to take on elements of the CSR role. Many have gone so far in saying that CSR should no longer work with young people - but just because the two roles are rapidly intertwining, should one really give over to the other? No. Well, not entirely. Of course, the decision really depends on many factors - the size of the company, the number of vacancies available for apprentices or school leavers, the sector, the size of the HR team… the list goes on.

However, for me, I think one of the most important factors in this is the age of the target audience. Traditionally, CSR can engage with any age range - and the same goes for HR, but in light of the levy, HR teams are turning their focus towards recruiting young people at the higher end of the spectrum, that is Years 12 and 13 into apprenticeships and school leaver programmes. This is great, and does - on paper - make sense: the more vacancies there are to fill, the more focus needed on the latter year groups, right? Yes. On the flip side, however,  we know that there is desperate need for young people to engage with employers - and sadly - with HR - because there is such a heavy focus on recruitment, the lower end of the spectrum gets missed.

I think we are starting to see CSR and HR becoming more of a joint team - for example, at shows such as the Big Bang Fair and Skills Show - budgets can be shared in order to extend the reach and deliver an exciting stand or stall - but also to attract and engage with potential candidates. I know from my own network that many teams are under review - who delivers what, and most importantly - who funds what! Let’s not forget - schools have a mandate to provide careers advice, information and guidance to students from Year 8 upwards - so if we lose the work of CSR altogether, who will provide that?

That’s why for me, it’s more a case of both teams working together. HR, rightfully want to be able to target those who are closer to their target demographic, and CSR should be able to focus on the younger age groups - supporting them in making well informed decisions for their future and opening the doors to start to think about a careers in a specific industry or company.

But that’s just one man’s opinion from his own experience in the sector. What do you think? What is happening in your company? Are you starting to see a shift towards a united front or movement towards a larger divide?