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Executive Summary

Unemployment is still rising, and economists continue to argue about exactly when the job market will start to improve, but companies that wait until the upturn is in full swing to adjust their staffing could find themselves at a disadvantage. This was just one of the stark messages delivered at [the] Beating the Recession conference in London organized by The Sunday Times HR Business Network. Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC [Trades Union Congress], talked of how the unions are attempting to work with employers as they travel the long, slow road to an upturn in the employment figures, but also admitted that they have challenges of their own: their members' average age now exceeds that of the general workforce.

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